John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

Poet's Corner: From The Warrior Song of King Gesar

From The Warrior Song of King Gesar

Our earth is wounded.
Her oceans and lakes are sick;
Her rivers are like running sores;
The air is filled with subtle poisons.
And the oily smoke of countless hellish fires blackens
     the sun.
Day has become night.

Fish are born deformed; birds fall lifeless from the sky.
Forests and plains wither.
Animals running in futile search for shelter and food
Collapse and die.

Men and women, scattered from homeland, family, friends,
Wander desolate and uncertain, scorched by a toxic sun,
Prey to empty longings, strange diseases and sudden death.

Nor is night a cooling time of moonlight rest,
But a fearful flame-lit void
Of sirens, cries and murderous phantoms.
In this desert of frightened, blind uncertainty,
Some take refuge in the pursuit of power, of knowledge and
     technique;
Some become manipulators of illusion and deceit;
Some take refuge in realms of self-satisfied passion;
And some build up a golden wall of simple wealth.

Men have become robots and zombies
As they have made these hopes and fears
Their ruthless demonic lords.

If goodness and bravery still dwell in this world
As other than a flickering shadow on the edge of sleep,
If wisdom and harmony still dwell in this world
As other than a dream lost in an unopened book,
They are hidden in our heartbeat.

And it is from our hearts that we cry out.
We cry out and our voices are the single voice of this wounded
     earth.
Our cries are a great wind across the earth.
The juniper smoke rises on this wind,
And on this bridge of longing, as we sing of him,
Gesar himself, the ever-youthful Lion King descends
Surrounded by flags and pennants snapping in the wind
To forge the weapons that cut the life force of fear and doubt,
To subdue and destroy the demonic hordes,
And to establish the kingdom of freedom, confidence and joy
That dwells eternally in the hearts of all.

Douglas J. Penick (born 1944)

The Warrior Song of Gesar is the central epic poem of Tibet and much of Central Asia. Gesar was a superhuman warrior-king of the Kingdom of Ling, a legendary kingdom thought to have been located in the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of southwest Sichuan Province. While several translations of the work exist, there is no definitive compilation, and in its native region it is still transmitted orally by Gesar singers. To their credit, the Chinese government is promoting efforts to preserve the epic, by collecting what written versions exist and recording the recitations of Gesar singers in northern and central China.

And by the way, this is a new icon! You may recognize this as a statue of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri that stands in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. If not, let me be the first to let you know that it's a statue of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri that stands in the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. The sculptor is Enrico Pazzi (1819 – 1899)

Tags: poet's corner
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