Monday, September 28, 2015

Poetry & Prose

Evening Walk Down the Sep Road

charcoal clouds envelop
dull rainbow a Cheshire gleam
reflects Tim moving laterally
under landslide gash
in silver twilight
awakening nocturne of
hidden critters
that rattle and hiss
serenading a
wisp of milky way
far off headlights in Lumla
flicker and die

Can't find the rythm of
this poem, a choppy dream
fragments of nothingness
make up this looking glass valley, looping river,
and sprawling blue mountains
ALL ablaze in a flash
of lightning

There's been a dramatic shift in the weather the last three days from the monsoon foam to clear and crisp autumn. On Sunday I took a glorious hike climbing thousands of feet out of Yangtse town through idyllic villages dotted with chortens and interspersed with terraced rice and millet. I discovered a rustic Lhakhang atop a forested ridge a heavenly retreat overlooking the Bumdeling catchment. Clouds still draped like bunting obscuring the high peaks that ring the narrow valley. Only birdsong and the wind accompanied me there rippling the prayer flags that flapped in fluid waves.

Last night the aroma of cool autumn and a rare sight the moon radiating silver light outlining Shampula, Bromla, and the eastern Indian side of the valley. The gibbous moon pronouncing 
the glory of fall with only the tail of the monsoon dragon lingering on the high fur clad ridges that surround the valley at 13,000 feet. The whir of Cicada's tambourine shaking all day on our sparkling campus with the grinding stones and tall cypress grove. Once in awhile a teacher sees a successful result which occurred only moments ago in my home class where their skits for the Dauntless Girl went off smoothly with the kids making props memorizing lines and conducting effective blocking to create a wonderful scene. Yes! They really achieved something from their own hard work and my support and improvement conducting such activities. Sometimes it can feel hopeless teaching out here since  English is undervalues and little used in actuality. Today I remember that some are learning and practicing speaking and the other domains of ESL English even if the milieu is not always favorable.

Sitting next to me is the tragic Dawa Dema dog who Karlos and Sonam has abandoned and now is associated with me even though I loath being a guardian for her and foresaw this circumstance the day I baught her for them. She's a nice pup but I don't want to be a dog owner and what will become of her when I'm gone.

I'm still reeling from a magnificent Tsechu but still don't have the time to recollect all that went down at this festival. The second day was one of the greatest days for me in the Kingdom and my feet never touched the ground. Being naughty bumping pelvises with the Atsara a gesture endowed with freedom of expression livening up the festivities by harassing the audience especially schoolgirls and Phelincpa.This masked clown and his cronies go around shaking a big red phallic made of wood in people's visage. The girls are understandably abashed but on this day with barely any representatives from the school I felt unfettered socializing with students, checking out the hoopla at the shops and casino and mainly focused on the masked dances. On this day it was the animal masked dancers wearing extraordinary masked depicting, tiger, ox, owl, deer, pig, horse, and so on. The dancers, all men, were bare foot with gold skirts, silken tops overlay with embroidered sashes. Every design and detail has significance and the movements are unparallelled leaping, twirling, in a coordinated dervish to the cacophonous bleating of puja horns (ten feet long) and clashing cymbals. The tantric groove pushing the dancers onward towards the portal. Most students only casually watch preferring to fraternize up at the canteens and shops that dot the crest of the hill. And the dances are watched most closely by the young and old who have a higher stake in the last dance. That dance is the judging of the soul in the Bardo a blueprint for what occurs after death in this incarnation at the cosmic relay station where we are judged by our earthy deed. On one side of the kneeling departed is the god of death who looks like the boogieman who hides in closets or under beds with coarse black spiked hair a wicked black masked face bearing fangs and adorned with maracas that clunk and rattle when he moves  and shakes these rattles are tied all over his body including his breast and he is adorned in skulls and other forms of decayed matter. On the other side of the departed a white masked more divine peaceful deity some sort of guardian to heaven.  Eventually five dakinis, angelic girls, played by class ten girls wearing burger king crowns only far nicer, encircle the departed soul singing a haunting dirge that I hop to hear in my own hour of reckoning. They lay upon the sinner who spins a handheld prayer wheel accruing merit until the last four gold scarves then lead him away to a high rebirth. thus vanquishing the boogieman. So much is going on that words are pitiful to describe the scene and meanwhile fog and mist recede forming leads to Tsang Tsang Ma and other pinnacles that punctuate the empty valley. As the final dancers prances bound, and peeled off through the curtained doorway I was joined by two Sangay's who also seemed dakinis on this fine day. We chatted in Korean phrases while they burned incense sticks getting to know their teacher a little more in an informal setting. I love to watch the dancer's peel off since it reminds me of death. You dance and play and suffer too before being ushered through the portal into the next round.

The last day was not the same vibe for me but splendid too as I hosted Lynn and we had a packed lunch made by my adopted sons who woke me up at 5 AM. But when lunchtime came both the boys and  the food vanished and I felt irritated and embarrassed but finally we tracked down the food and had our picnic. My students were excited to see Lynn AND a few of them helped her by carrying her bag and escorting her down to Tsenkharla since I remained to finish out the Black Hat Cham which is my favorite. The rain came back sprinkling the dancers with their silken regalia and fantastic soaring black hats adorned with peacock feathers and painted with rainbow prisms with impaled skulls fixed on them. Front row at the Cham one can feel the wind generated from the skirts embroidered wit celestial depictions beyond description and many of the dancers eyes wide like flying saucers seemed in a trance. The Tsechu ended with circle songs from the community. I descended my beloved trail at dusk flanked by the voices of villagers soaring from the Lhakhang passing Rinchen Wangmo and her family on the trail.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog!!

    If you like, come back and visit mine:

    Pablo from Argentina