Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Poems: Untitled -- by Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

The ancients were wise
to save renunciation
for the end. My pain does
not affect the other,
not right now. It is
possible to alter position
with another as a mother does
but the lessons get harder
with age. It is not out of habit
we take flowers to the river:
a ritual brings us closer
to the unknown—the known,
we guess where they go.
Repetition (of rituals)
wherein the hands,
in time, cease.

*     *     *     *     *

Tsering Wangmo Dhompa lives in San Francisco but was raised in India and Nepal before moving to the U.S. Her parents fled Tibet in 1959, and she is the first Tibetan woman poet to be published in the U.S. She is fluent in several languages, including Tibetan, Hindi and Nepali and English.

Dhompa has received grants from the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Galen Rowell Fund and has been a writing fellow at the MacDowell Colony and Hedgebrook. She is the author of two books of poems -– Rules of the House, which was a finalist for the Asian American Literary Awards in 2003, and In the Absent Everyday (2005).


  1. In a way it seems racist or socially awkward to note that the Tibetan people seem to carry a certain grace with them, but my limited experience has shown me this. Is it the close tie to Buddhism? Is it the bearing the suffering since the Chinese invasion? They have much to teach the rest of the world.

  2. Perhaps we note and admire attention to detail during rituals -- a focus on NOW, instead of obsession with possible FUTURE events.

  3. Tsering Wangmo la, you write so effortlessly. i am a big fan of yours, there aren't that many Tibetan poets especially who writes in english. I do write poems but i have a long way to go. Bhod Gyalo!