The Red Forehead

Tenzin Tsundue on March for Tibet, February 2021For Tenzin Tsundue

‘Why is his blood so hot?’ they ask
And I tell them –
you were orphaned
when red guns boomed across our silent hills
you were deserted by the mountains
when our wooden bowls were turned upside down
your words collide with time’s tide

my blood boils too
But it does not turn my forehead red
Nor does it drive my passion mad
Yet the same blood that runs in you
Runs in me
Our blood stamped with snow flakes
singing of mountain winds
moving with ancient warriors

‘Why is his voice so intense?’ they ask
And I tell them —
your songs were stolen
when bombs spiraled in our blue skies
your melodies were broken
when our mothers cried under collapsing roofs
the clock strikes against your time

my voice rises too
But it does not turn my forehead red
Yet the same voice that calls you
Calls me
To invoke the mountain gods
To tell the warriors’ tales
To be a bit more like you.


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There are 5 comments for “The Red Forehead”

  1. Bhuchung la, you words touch the truth of all Tibetans.
    The power of your poetry
    matches the hot blood of your friend.
    Between you, you call
    to your scattered brothers and sisters,
    to those in the snow mountains,
    Gesar’s children,
    Palden Lhamo’s fighters.

    Between the two of you,
    you show them
    a way to remember,
    a way to act,
    to live, to persist
    beyond every threat,
    every injustice,
    every curse,
    every heartbreak.

    Man, woman, child,
    warriors all,
    they hear the mountain gods
    in your arrow songs,
    feel distant tramp of that white mule
    of hers.
    You break the trail for them.
    They will follow.

    (I apologize only for this poor poetry;
    though I am not of Tibetan blood
    my heart is true).

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