and
Lhonak

1 October 2016

Translated from the English original to the Lepcha by Pushpa Choden Thomas Lepcha

Triangulating the contours
It might escape attention
Amongst high passes
And crashing glaciers

Mule trains to Tibet are over
Only soldiers frequent the windswept houses
Seeking forbidden liquor and border gossip
Women would be a bonus

But streams still pass through
Playfully, making horseshoe
Crescent, ellipse
And at times a full stop

A days’ journey north west
Treading on a spread of alpine flowers
Steal a glimpse of exquisite Chomiomo
Behind bearded Khangchen’s jealous back

Nodding yaks point to
A necklace of lakes
Arrayed like water offerings in a chodsom
The afternoon sun makes for a lone butter lamp

Across Dolma’s rickety bridge
And many a weary stride later
Witness a miracle from a low rise
108 streams gush from the lotus born’s strewn beads

Beyond the pass of the morning rays
They say lies a lake and a line of stupas
Where pilgrims arrive to atone
The sin of the bone

On a dry flat plain
the mule suddenly rears
unsaddling a cousin
unhurt but rattled

It always happens here
whispers the muleteer eerily
At these cracks between the
visible and the hidden world.

 


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