In the scorched remains of a violent sunTranslations
In the scorched remains of a violent sun
We pass into oblivion,
the scorched remains of a violent sun,
and still, dawn,
somewhere in that moment,
shivers from cold,
eagerly looks forward to that same sun to rise.
has its limits.
Who can break free
of the infatuations of excess?
In that most revered hall
some die of humiliation,
some are besieged by humiliation
with no choice but to wander
within the city’s walls.
And day by day, the tyrants lose weight
as do those wrapped in crimson robes,
encountering one horror after another,
the slow unfolding of cause and effect.
Is there any deeper meaning?
Is there a way out?
What can we rely on?
Can we reach our destination
by a different path?
By that I don’t mean death.
A bronze bell from a distant country falls
a single seam splits open—
but there’s no room to slip through
not for them
not for me.
Let’s bore our way in and hide!
And yet, none of us have cultivated
the ability to shrink
the ability to shrink and become
Originally, the bell hung high
above the entrance of a Buddhist hall.
People bowed their heads as they passed below
“As the deer pants for streams of water….”
The bell was the background
it was the purpose
and yet it doesn’t matter
because it, too, was unable to stop
the violent torrent of the revolution—
that singular monster that bit us all
black and blue.
But the more unbearable pain
relates to the falling of the bell.
We expected it to reverberate
like thunder when it hit
the ground, a trembling
that would rescue us,
not for it to fracture
They say that deep underground
there’s a quiet lake.
Paintings string from one wall to the next
with scenes of sentient beings
filling the lake and building the temple.
There is even an image
of a pure white baby goat
carrying more dirt on its back
than carried by any of the others.
Something stems from gratitude,
people say it becomes some godly power,
something singular and uncommon.
I just want to take a sip of the lake.
What does its water taste like?
Our life is so bitter.
We need imagination’s sweetness.
There is a tranquil silence
under the scorching sun
I can only stretch my toes
so far into its heat,
the rest of my body
must shelter in cool shade.
And I keep recoiling.
We all want to protect ourselves,
and yet, this selective action
is also a form of selective amnesia.
There are those who, in an attempt
to conceal secrets, plant trees
on top of one ruin after another.
The ruins have already become
part of the trees’ shadows,
as if the annihilation can no longer be seen.
And not far away, the golden dome
of the Phodrang Potala stands alone,
doing its best to shine.
The crime of negation
is knotted to memory.
—Woeser, September 12, 2023, Lhasa
(translated by Ian Boyden)