Friday, June 22, 2012

Bright Blossom of Hope and Despair

I plant my flag of fire
On the ground of my homeland
May the oils of my body
Keep burning the faith of freedom
May the ashes of my body
Protect the earth from unholy feet

May the blaze of my offering
Attract the notice of a bodhisattva
May the hero on his flying horse
Arrive to transform the snowland
To teach the wicked the secret of
An open heart joined to a wise mind

Why can’t my enemy understand
I am also doing this for him
Not just for my people
Why can’t even my enemy see
How sacred the mountains, lakes and rivers
How sacred the air and the sound of prayers
How important for our future?

If my burning has no result
Then at least I have made
Of my body a prayer
And the gold-red blossom
Of my offering
Will light the sky for a little while.

* * *

I dedicate this poem to the most recent immolations in Tibet – of Ngawang Norphel (22) and Tenzin Khedup (24), who set themselves ablaze to protest Chinese human rights violations, the ongoing rape of the environment and landscape, and the attempted destruction of Tibetan language and culture. According to news reports, as many as 42 have set themselves on fire since 2009, in protest. Tragically, most of these were young people.  (The photo is copied from Phayul, a Tibetan news source.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rewritten History - A Recipe

Take one very fresh memory
Cut it carefully down along the vein
Preserving the petals for decoration later

Scoop out the pulp
Add a dash of wishful thinking
A splash of self-interest
And a cup of creative writing
Stir well

Bake at 350 degrees
Until a knife inserted comes out clean
And no pain is left sticking to the pan

Garnish with the petals
Arranged in the shape of a star
Serves one