By Nyen

I, with all my might,
Endeavored to calm
My body, both inside and out
And stayed with closed eyes
I took myself to the homeland
My homeland is lung zi’i gad dmar

It is a far-reaching land of flowers
With a cherished memory,
I rested there for a while
The place where I would run barefoot
When I was young

I imagined myself,
Falling asleep bathed in sunlight,
Amid white clouds, grassland, and flowers

Then, I returned
I reached my place
I am still, like before,
In the threatening room
I don’t have the sun’s light
It has been so long since I lost it


Jangtse Dhonkho (Nyen) is a well-known Tibetan poet and former political prisoner. He was born in 1978 in Chongchuk county in Amdo, Tibet. He was a government official at the local history research centre, until his imprisonment by the local police on June 21, 2010, who accused him of inciting separatism through his writings. Nyen is his pen name, under which, he published four books of poetry, “Red Heart”, “Revenant” in 2002, “Dexterity” in 2007, and “Wild Born” in 2016.

This poem, “Exile” is derived from his latest, “Wild Born”. In the afterword of the book, he articulates that “Wild Born” is a flaming flower of vowels and consonants (dbyangs gsal) that was conceived in the darkened land. I further suggest that “Wild Born” is the embodiment of his strength, resilience, resistance, and wisdom in that dark room, and this poem is an inescapable part of his great wildness.

I also admire his metaphorical expression of exile and its depiction of his imagined land.

(Thanks, my friend sgang dkon mchog for sending the book “Wild Born” to me as a gift.)

3 thoughts on “Exile

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