Anthology of Tibetan Poets


Tsamchoe Dolma


Love Story of the Snail Queen

I met the snail queen yesterday.
She had a new crown on.
She led me in her palace.
Down into the earth.
She offered me drinks and meals.
She let me play her golden harp.
A hundred snail maids entertained me,
But the snail queen looked sad...
"Your majesty," I then asked.
"Why this gloom on your pretty face?"
She shed a silent tear then 
And led me to her private park
Where beside a tomb she knelt 
And thus related,
" The air was wet and wonderful,
It was the snail-ball last monsoon,
And I met a charming snail prince.
The smartest antenna he had
And I did fall for him!
We danced till the moonlights were gone.
We roamed the snail city arm in arm.
And that golden harp he gave me then
(The snail tradition to ask to be wed)
The monsoon feast was our wedding day.
And never more happy were we then!
My maids got me ready.
They curled my antenna, 
Coloured my shell
And with this new crown I was adorned.
Wedding bells had filled the air. 
And the feast had just begun.
But the prince did not turn up!
The scouts traced him everywhere
They blew the emergency horn,
They put special receptors on
And after hours of search, up and down,
They finally brought his distorted corpse,
While on his way to the wedding,
Two giant feet had squashed him twice!
My love story, 
The usual snail-story,
Had just come to an end."

The Mother Cuckoo

The mist was gone somewhere in the depth of the valley
The shower left a sweet scent on the mushy earth,
The wind was calm in the serenity of the air
And the mother cuckoo was still on the rain-washed tree,
Cooing all day long as if her song would never die,
I never heard a lyric so full of pain, so melancholic
That a dark heavy lump squeezed by my throat,
Then the bliss of the vicinity bade a reluctant farewell
And the echo of the song seeped within my soul;
She seemed to whimper, painful tears of desperation
She seemed to give the sad news from far beyond,
But the meaning try hard I could not understand,
I never heard a lyric so full of pain, so melancholic
That the lump grew and grew as if it would never die,
Then for one last time she brushed her rain soaked fur
And I thought about the forbidden land she left behind,
A solitary feather swung from her withered wings
And then the mother cuckoo was no longer to be seen.