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.)

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