Ode to Tibet: Motherspeak


In my youth I loved the poems of Carl Sandburg especially his robust poems about the American urban landscape—remember his “Chicago” of Hog butchers? ……For some time I’ve wanted to write a poem of homage to Tibet celebrating the country’s unique qualities in all its gritty reality rather than our fantasies.

 I wrote this on the occasion of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu’s publication of the first volume of  The Light of Kailash—when such an occasion arose and this Ode came together in a jumble of extravagance and love drawing on three decades interest in the country from which I benefited so much and in honor of the Master who has been a tireless steward of his country’s history and my inspiration. 

Ode to Tibet: Motherspeak

Jacqueline Gens

For Chögyal  Namkhai Norbu (1938-2018)

Top peaked mountains
Roof of the world
Land of Drala
Bare elements alive
Blazing naked breasts
Belly and thighs
In darkness of modern demise
Wrought by imperialism
And petty bureaucrats
Squinting in luminosity
They can not bear.

Tibet O Rugged Haven
of saints and rogue bandits
hard working herds women and men
home to rebel daughters and sons
derelict monastics, secret yogins
enlightened beings
imperial kings and queens alike
not without rival clans and despot
cut throat greed mongers
or masters of intrigue, murdering
their rivals,
soft spoken sycophants in robes
or fresh faced soldiers yielding
batons of torture.

Here in the Land of Dakinis at play
among scant clad yogis and yoginis
who move through rock like clouds
incubating primordial wisdom
in the heart of your iron fortress
poised at the barren plains of
Northernmost plateaus
or remote mountain caves
far from worldly efforts
eating air for sustenance
O Tibet you are mother
to all human greatness and failings

Once empress of vast kingdoms
Your mantle flung
Wide from Taksang to Yarlung
in Glory

Now, beaten down
yet standing tall
Land of Healing
where flowers bloom
redolent with special properties

I praise your still splendid beauty
your haughty stance
now just a memory

Tibet –How you wound us with your
woo us with your cantata of  Universal Love
Om Tare Tutare Ture Svaha
Mother of the Universe
You astound us with your learning
where fresh head waters still roar with
torrents of blessing
to quench universal quests for
filling the coffers of  impoverished
from the West, thirsty legions
parched by lords of materialism
and so unhappy with too much of

Our open mouths a house for your
     poured out waters
replenished eternally from your flow of

We bow down to you Tibet
We thank you brave Mother
We praise you
We cry for your rightful offspring
Your warriors inspire us to abandon all
Vain pursuits that evaporate like mist
In azure sky
Vibrating with sacred sounds.

May we prove worthy of your bounty
May you live forever
through your bastard progeny
your blood coursing through us,
nurtured by the milk from your
teats of loving kindness
May your river of nourishment never
run dry.

Younger daughter of geo history
and elder crone among hominoids
ignited from bone and stone flints
littering uninhabitable plains
24,000 years ago
your footsteps skipping across time
embedded at the edge of pleistocene

O Mother Dear, arise—for
You will be the last one Dancing
in your bower beyond time
forever Queen where

Tibet Lives!

In loving memory of Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

by his humble student … I taste your mind……….

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