Waterfall of Youth

The clear blue sky,
The warmth of the sun,
The fragrant flowers,
The majestic mountains —


But even more beautiful than these,
a cascading waterfall
before a steep cliff,


Brilliant rays, pure white, spread like a
Peacock’s feathers,
Parrot’s plumage,
patterns on silk brocade,


The sound of the gushing water, clear and pleasing,
The music of the angels,
unblemished melody,
music of the gods,
pure in origin,


This is not an ordinary waterfall —
It possesses a majestic quality,
a fearless heart
incomparable in its pride,
a strong body
adorned in finest jewels,
most melodious music,


The torrential waterfall,
the glorious young people of the Land of Snows,


In the year 1980,
the heartfelt power and creativity of the youth of Bo,
The dignifying struggle,
the music of youthfulness,

Kyi! Kyi!

Youthful waterfall,
Waterfall of youth,

Where did you obtain
the fearless heart,
immeasurable confidence,
unbending pride,

limitless strength?


The rainfall during the three months of spring,
the new growth during the three months of summer,
the nourishment of hail and storm during the three months of autumn,
the ice and snow of three months of winter,

And more!

Water from the snowy mountains, meadows, valleys, ravines,

In short!

Water of auspiciousness,
water of prosperity,
water of fulfillment,
water of perfection
possessing the Eight Purities of water,

The hundreds and thousands of different qualities of water,

You are the water of friendship,
daring to leap from the ferocious cliff-
you are the water of the universe,
Courageously leaping into the valley below,
Proud to take on what is new

You have an open mind, strong body, and majestic appearance,
without arrogance or defilement,
your origins are deep,
having cast aside all impurities,
you have an unblemished mind, a splendor in your youthfulness,


You are witness to history,
the way of the future —
the breathing and lifting of the snow land are written
on every droplet,
the rise and development of the Land of Snows
shine in each of your rays,

Without you!

Where can we whet the sword of language?
Where can we sharpen the sword of our skills,

Without you!

The tree of medicine cannot bloom,
philosophy and Buddhism will not bear fruit,


Lingering in your crystal mind
may be wounds of history,
scars of old battles thought,
lesions of ignorance,
the clotting of conservatism —
these are not possible,

The reason is!

You possess pride, majesty, and strength of youth,
will never let the winter ice stop you or
numb your mind —
a hundred slashes from a wrathful sword
cannot halt your flow,

The reason is!

The waterfall’s source lies in the deep snows,
its end is joined with the vast ocean-
your history is long,
it generates pride and dignity,
how melodious your chorus of time,
our inspiration and potency,

Have you heard? Waterfall!

The questions of the youth of the Land of Snows,

How can you let a poet’s horse suffer from thirst?
How can you let composition’s elephant suffer from heat?
How can you let metaphor’s snow lion be covered in dirt?
How can you not nurture the orphan of dance and music?
Who will preserve the heritage of astrology?
Who will welcome the groom of science?
Who will wed the bride of technology?

Alas! Waterfall!

Your clear, bright, and harmonious answers will reach our ears,
they are incised in our minds as a carving on a rock,

In truth!

The thousand brilliant accomplishments of the past
cannot serve today’s purpose,
yesterday’s salty water cannot quench today’s thirsts,
the withered body of history is lifeless
without the soul of today,
the pulse of progress will not beat,
the blood of progress will not flow,
and a forward step cannot be taken,

Kyi! Waterfall!

Your gentle ripples,
droplets from your splashing water,
You symbolize the strength of the new generation of the Land of Snows,
your torrent and thunderous sounds,


You show the hopes of the new generation-
our generation must not tread these paths,
conservatism, isolationism, ignorance, slothfulness —
backwardness, barbarism, darkness, and reactionism,
these have no foundation in our land,

Waterfall, waterfall!

Our minds will follow your course,
our blood will run like yours,
in the currents of times to come,
however difficult the way,
Youth of Tibet, relinquish fear,

Our people!
A new path is opening in front of you,


The new generation of the Land of Snows,
we are marching together,


This harmonious song
is the anthem of the youth of the Land of Snows,
the bright road,
pride in responsibility,
joyous life,
song of struggle,

The youthful waterfall will not diminish,
the water will never become impure,

This is!

The waterfall springs from the voices of the youth of Tibet

This is!

The waterfall flows from the mind of the youth of the Land of Snows.

— Translation by Tsering Shakya


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There are 2 comments for “Waterfall of Youth”

  1. This style of free verse is kind of outdated now. But this poetry and other poetries and novels by Dhondup Gyal at that time inspired thousands of Tibetan youth and opened up their eyes to see a pride in themselves, of their past and a bright future.

  2. I say that this is a good translation of the masterpiece … though I didn’t really get the thing in Tibetan. The translation still kind of has that distinctive tone of the original … Great work!

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