Anthology of Tibetan Poets


Tenzin Dickyi


Yuthok Lane

This is how it will be: 
we will take a walk on concrete, not blue tiles, 
and you will pretend to be disappointed. 
This will have the quality of a ritual.   
In the morning, the sun will fall from the sky; 
we will protect ourselves against its fire. 
It is not so unbearable, but we have learnt 
to be wary of arrivals from the east.   
We are unbeautiful here; 
our stay in the plains has rendered us so. 
But whispers now carry endearments, 
and we will not have it any other way.   
Outside the chapel, we will collect ourselves, 
then enter the bowels of this benign shell. 
Nothing in here threatens us.    
We will pull out our offerings, crisp and new. 
This time they will go where they are intended. 
The pilgrims are less urgent now. And slowly 
the shadow of the deity gains its substance.   

Everything is Relative

In the first year her cheeks are too vivid.
But she denies her absence. 
She learns the sound for water - Pani,
swirls in her mouth words unfamiliar. 
She eats rice twice a day with her fingers;
this diminishes its festivity. 
A small boy tells her the Himalayas are rising.
The walk back will take longer, she thinks. 
She begins to cook with unfamiliar spices-
cloves & coriander, fennel & mustard seed,
reluctantly acknowledges her expertise. 
She grows to interpret different touches,
to name separate Gods. 
In the final year she accepts
the possibility of betrayal.


Ladies and gentlemen,
These trace fossils belong to 
our dearly departed Tyrannosaurus Rex.
I say this with surety because his foot prints lead to his open coffin.
These Oviraptors, maligned raiders of Protoceratopsian nests,
are cleared on all counts of assault, battery and theft, 
when their legal counsel proves beyond a shadow of a doubt 
that they were guarding the nests,
not raiding them. The legal counsel, 
in the style of Solomon or Sakyamuni and other wise men, 
cracks open the disputed eggs in court.
Out come - not baby Protoceratops - but baby Oviraptors!
These Pterosaurs are not killing fish, 
they are cleaning teeth and 
learning to swim. 
I paste my judgment along my palette.
How my paleontology works for me.
If I take these bones home 
and make them a nice bone bed and 
water them at regular intervals and take them out in the sun and 
encourage them, love them perhaps, they will grow 
flesh and thin skin which will thicken into scales 
hard enough to leave scale impressions on cliffsides when 
they squeeze their way through a narrow mountain pass.
But who wants dinosaurs in their homes?
There are only two ways of looking at the truth. 
When the truth is buried, taken out and 
boxed up and buried in rock and 
no one attends its burial 
but says, "how sad, how sad" and "what a world" and the truth is now a fossil, 
a fossil of a point of view but a disreputable fossil, 
which is to say, a fossil unable to withstand 
its burial, the cerement slowly wearing 
out of being and with it the fossil 
until it is all gone, 
then we must employ the third way of looking 
at the truth which is to look at the sediment infill in the rock, 
which keeps the shape of truth as nicely as 
a bookmark keeps its place in a book.
The dinosaur takes the alternative to extinction. 
He cuts a deal, keeps his clavicle, forsakes divine right, and agrees to electronic 
The meteorite has a name and a makeshift home, a cradle rounded 
like the smooth grave inner face of silvered spoons.
Perhaps it meant no harm.