Village and Trees – Manjul

Village Solitude

I am here. I ‘ll be here.

I won’t go

to the city,

I have no part there

The sound of a flute

touches my every part. I am innocent

like the flute boy’s eyes, the flute boy’s heart,

I won’t go

to the city.

A dog has barked or a stream has flowed,

the wind touched or has not touched the trees:

I am in the foam of every ripple on the waters,

I am in every leaf on all the branches,

I have no place in the noise of the city crowd.

Cocks crow or don’t,

someone whistle or doesn’t:

wherever you put your hand, there you’ve touched my heart.

Where men have walked and have not walked

I am down both roads.

father heavens

and mother horizon,

happy and satisfied,

I won’t go

to the city.

Welcome, whoever comes from there

but don’t lug the city with you

or I’ll have no part,

not even in people’s hearts.

Country Road

Don’t put me down as a muddy track,

don’t I reach the hills and fields,

don’t I reach the solitudes and towns?

I go to where country roads end

and where roads are

entering the highways

I disappear,

striding forward in the heart.

Evening sometimes rests on my shoulder,

and sometimes the dawn,

moonlight sometimes rests on my shoulder, and sometimes the sun

sometimes a fog, the dew

the stars sleep on my shoulder,

sometimes I stride

as heart-felt song.

Don’t put me down as a muddy track.

The Dead

There are ravines and cascades,

there are the small green groves and there is black rock,

there is the occasional crow of the cock,

and the sparrow’s chirp,

there is a distant look in the eyes,

the is a local tongue you can’t comprehend,

a cold breeze,

the morning paths where no one has walked,

white prayer flags flap with the wind:

symbols of the dead,

memories of the dead,

but where

are the living?


Five minutes ago nothing was,

now a thick fog rises,

I was born

into the world thus,

although the fog

rose from nothing,

emptiness was.

Our coming and going

is thus.


On the road to the new school site

more sheep than people walk,

sheep like people

people like sheep,

innocent, hopeless

ignorant, loveable

on the road to the new school site

more sheep than people walk.

There is the old school building

but the door is closed.

The school’s doors opens

but the classrooms are empty,

black boards, desks, and chairs like sheep,

and when the headmaster leaves for town

they are sheep without a shepherd.

Even when the new school is finished

probably there will still be more sheep than people here.

Village Stream

I am the village stream,

no one can stop

my flowing,

I sing

but not to tell you anything,

not to make you understand,

but those who listen

hear their own sorrows,

feel their own worries

they even get answers.

Amazing !

But to tell you something

I never sing,

I sing for singing,

natures tongue

those who try to understand, understand.

Those who don’t can’t.

I am the village stream,

no one can stop

my flowing.

Mist and Smoke

I see I am lesser to the mist

that, rising from a ravine,

spreads across the slope,

starting out low,

goes only up.

I see I am lesser to the mist

that from a small crevice

gets larger larger

and dissolves.

And below the mist,

a mist-like smoke

that, rising

from the fire

mixes with the clouds.

I see it too go upward

never traveling down.

I see smoke rising from a fire

that is damp,

and doesn’t burn well

but I see that the roiling smoke rises up up.

Village Princess

Princess River

flowing pressed

between the dark, princely boulders,

They try to hold, to block me but smashing the barriers,


dancing to the boom of my own rhythm,

I flow.

If I get angry,

hoisting the flood on my back,

I roll over the rocks, carrying them before me,

smashing their embrace, right and left.

If I’m happy,

I come singing songs for everyone,

I trundle down the mountain

to the tune of my own echo.

The Poet

In a secluded spot, the Poet speaks

with the sky

and the horizon

with the sunlight

and the shadow;

he speaks with the cliffs

and the jungle

he speaks with the river

and the fields of rice and corn;

he speaks with the birds

and the flags fluttering flags

he speaks with the cattle

and the clucking and crowing of the fowl;

he talks with nothingness

and so if he happened upon a friend

think how he would talk!

But the poet isn’t lonely.

Yet when the moonlight floods everything

or for example on the darkest night

when there is a lonely flute

or a tungna

the Poet’s heart

takes flight

to the place where people

love and think of him.

He can’t sleep.

He is speechless.

The Poet weeps, and inside him an ordinary man

also weeps. He wants to occupy the spaces

between the stars or else the topmost layer of pitch black night.

The Poet cannot sleep.

He is speechless.

Tungna [1]

My wife rises

from the playing tungna

she is dancing

or weeping with dishevelled hair

I can’t tell

her heart rises

from the playing tungna.

What loving couple anywhere in the world wish to part in

their happiness

or even in their sorrow?

My wife’s eyes rise

from the playing tungna

when she looks at me

I melt.

I left her

alone to come here,

and when the tungna plays,

I repent


The village looks at me from untutored eyes,

but the shadow of knowledge is there.

I look back with eyes of the scholar

but the shadow of ignorance is there.

If our knowing and unknowing meet

what an indescribable thing will be born!

I prefer its gaze to my own.


When the heart has been shattered

and the river of tears has flowed

how can the bridge

between the two banks stand?

In two of the biggest boulders

holes must be drilled,

a cable inserted and bound.

On both banks pits must be dug,

and the boulders buried there,

covered with other stones,

and a wall of mud and rock erected.

Will that suffice?

And then sometimes everything has to be plastered with cement as well.

When the heart of the land has been shattered

and the river of tears has flown,

to hold the bridge that joins the banks,

we need moorings


than the bridge.

Night Sky

Like the first words of lovers

the night sky

slowly opens.

Ah! slowly slowly

so many stars

hundreds thousands of elated blazings



happiness flashed across that lover’s sky,

but as if stolen

gradually one by one

why are the stars lost with dawn?

and a blank white face

comes into view

wearing a red tika

like the village bride

at day break

rising for her work.

Clear Water


virginity’s face


the eyes of a woman raped


a child snatched from death’s bony mouth

held in warm arms


the baby lying fearlessly

in mother’s lap


truth’s truth

life’s life

does this water

turn its gaze on you

as it does on me?


here, the bigger the ravines

the bigger the shadows that sleep in them

while the glowing sun rests on the mountains’ feet

the bigger the ravines

the bigger the shadows that sleep in them

how big a hole

do sorrow helplessness loneliness dig

in the village of the heart?

no matter how the sun of happiness blazes

darkness still sleeps in the bottom of the pit

to rid the village

the chest

of shadow

the holes must be filled in level

or the sun must be brought directly above.

It’s difficult to do.

The Village Light

Village light,

herself beaming,

lover of my heart’s glow;

I gave my torch to her.

I said “know that whoever walks in this beam,

my loving hand is with them.”

“Ah, what a beautiful thing to say,”

the words leapt from her lips.

I said “darkness isn’t only outside,

it is in the heart.

Turn this beam there also,

I am with you

in the struggle to bring light.”

Her eyes filled with tears,

only her silence spoke.

“You won’t cry

when I go,” I said

because you have light to dry your tears.”

And I

couldn’t look at her face.


From the pungent scent of the soil

it seems in my last life I was here.

A rooster crows,

brother Lama [2] meets his palms in namaskar, [3]

myself I smile,

all the joys of that life coming close.

I don’t see dreams of being chased

or of lovers leaving me.

I see my image innocent

in the eyes of a woman in the field breaking clods.

From the pungent scent of the soil

it seems I’m in my last life even now,

and in my next life, how will I be born?

As a human child?

A poet?

Sun and Shadow

On the mountain ridges

sun and cloud sit together,

light and shadow

the slope’s inseparable parts.

In me only

do the bright and dark

quarrel as they sit,

never agreeing, never,

as if they were no part of me,

and wanted no part of each other.

I see the mountain ridges

I see my hear,

I am shocked by the difference

When I see the mountain ridges,

I’m shocked at myself.

The Dance

When you take someone’s hand

mountains on the horizon join,

when you laugh

a breeze quivers,

when you walk

a murmuring stream flows.

It’s not you

dancing on the mountain ridge,

the ridge dances

dancing dances,

smiling–there is sun

serious–shadows come: you become the mountain.


leaving the village

walking the path of tears

going on ahead

you feel the village following

glancing back

you feel your self left behind

leaving the village

walking the path of tears


seem to speak

when you sit

heavy hearted

lost at every resting spot

leaving the village

walking the path of tears

looking over the river

you feel your self has reached the opposite bank

then having crossed

your self is abandoned on the bank behind

while the real is imaginary

you imagine the real

leaving the village

walking the path of tears


I’m being played on the village flute,

from Pinky’s eyes

I’m watching

the demonic village night,

as Phurba grips the harrow’s handle

I’m plowing the pungent soil,

darling, don’t be angry

that I’m not now bound in your embrace,

darling, don’t worry

that I’m not held between your lips,

while Birados plays the tungna

I’m leafing

through the layers of his feeling,

I’m being played on the village flute,

though for six days and six nights

Kanchi Tamang cowered in the jungle,

sleeping hungry

hiding in the rocks,she was made to marry.

Becoming her,

I’m swallowing tears of hate,

spitting on the name “wife”

they forced her to take,

I’m being played on the village flute,

from Yangdorje’s eyes

I’m watching

not just the present

but the future of grandsons, great grandsons,

In Nasir Tamang’s song

I’m rising, spreading,

I’m being played on the village flute.

[1] tungna: a Nepali four-stringed folk guitar.

[2] Lama: name of a caste living in the hills of Nepal.

[3] namaskar: a respectful greeting.

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Translator: Maya Watson

from: nepalikavita

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