Saturday, September 22, 2007

Poem for the Prostitutes of Lhasa

A comfortable village was there
until the soldiers passed through,
leaving only a small house
for the nurse sent ahead
to betray the land.

A wounded soldier has only one nurse,
but a nurse has many soldiers—
like mirrors—
in which she every day
sees herself a little more clearly.

The dream battle is dangerous
when it replaces reality
and reason is dangerous
when it replaces love.

If a thing is in your heart then it is true;
if not, it becomes a ghost.
If your life is a collection of ghosts
your heart becomes impermanent.

During the war,
broken girls from the villages
would change their names
when they changed Flower Houses,
to resist the silent hauntings
of dead soldiers, left behind.

Copyright (c) 2004 by Tulku Urgyan Tenpa Rinpoche. Rights reserved.

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