Friday, April 07, 2006

China to Tibet


















I.
Sky blue jacket is quilted silk
worn by woman nyuren
She wears it
and black cloth slippers worn down at the heel
silk clouds on jacket
no storm
grey hair worn down

Above blue sky
Below cement sidewalk

Perserverance furthers one to cross the great waters

Sand water blood jade oil brush newspaper maggots rice ocean
seaweed fungus bamboo
monkey brains in bottle the color of forest where mushrooms grow
and salt rubs her flood worn thighs

In Zhong guo water flows
stones are mountains are crows
are rice fields
young tea
stars in sky
pink morning yellow afternoon sweet sweat

Weddings are red, gold, and black
there are mouths, a house, and rice
that's lucky



II.
Red hat Yellow hat
big orange lama waits for ride on roadside
Old woman, hair shorn
tightly matted
wears woolen gown

Dust in sun, dog on roof
wooden chairs
a table
creases on our eyes

I am barking for food
curling up to sleep
searching for water

There's dried hard peaches
oily flat bread and yak butter tea
faces looking at me through hole in wall
window size no glass many eyes
some kind of meat I eat
seated on chair
spit bones to mud floor
hard-packed and greasy
heavy wooden door
many eyes watching me

My hair is long
braided down my back
hands are strong wielding chopsticks
and soupy bowl of meat
maybe it's sheep
tastes good
many bones



III.
Khampa herdsman on road to Batang
leads a mule loaded with things
I touch his braid, red thread and turquoise 'round his head
Our language
a road, turquoise stone, my fingers on thread
whites of our eyes, leather pouch, mountains high above our heads

"Wo dao Lhasa"
"I'm going to Lhasa", I chant
no stove no hurry
look for water
socha, chang I taste

Liquid rivers say my name
hers I chant to the wind

~Nicole Raisin Stern
written in Boston, 1990
about my solo bicycle trip in China and Tibet, summer 1986.

2 comments:

Pierre Turlur said...

Thank you for that gemm too.

I would like what is left of my life to be just like the last two verses.

Buddha bless

Nicole said...

Hahahaha, thanks Pierre. Me, too. / \