Satish Shrestha (सतिश श्रेष्ठ )

In The Quest Of…

A Letter to Ho-Chi-Minh (Translated in English)

Posted by Satish Shrestha on October 15, 2009

This is yet another great poem by Bhupi Sherchan that I am in love with. I have attempted to translate (हो-चि-मिन्हलाई) from Nepali trying to keep each of the words’ meaning alive. But I am sure there’s a big room for improvement and refinement. Please let me know if you think something is missing or is mistranslated.

Standing on the shadow of Machhapuchhre Mountain
that stands on a blessing like pillow,
I salute you considering you a mountain .
As I write this letter to you
the silence in my room has converted
itself into tranquility of a Buddhist monastery
where, like the holy smoke coming out of an incense stick
your senile lean body appears in front of me with your vague yet pure visage.
Unconsciously I remember my own village
where there’s a river – ‘Lete River’
tranquil and lean like you
but when it floods
the boulders around the river quiver
and after the flood diminishes
the arrogant dams that tried to prevent the flood
find themselves crumbled, collapsed, and pulverized,
my ‘Lete River’ !
I am confident
your flood will sweep away
those barbarians who’ve come across your nation
carrying casket full of dollars.
Though the geographic perimeter limits me,
though the inter-national borders segregate me from you,
where there’s awareness above everything else
And where there’s a true heart beat above everything else-
I am there with you – involved in a war
each of your houses sabotaged- has left me homeless
each of your bridges wrecked- has wrecked me
in your every humiliated Mongol-faced women
I have seen my wife and sisters naked in the streets
In every explosion in your monastery
I have seen tears flowing down my own Swoyambhu’s Eyes of Enlightenment
The debris of bomb detonation in Hanoi-
I have experienced them in my national monument
And in those nights of Blitzkrieg – I have been in those trenches of awakenings.
Who can fall asleep when the giant logs around are burning!
More than everything else and above everything-
from each of your dead soldiers I have learned the philosophy of living
I have understood the meaning of life
And through the enormous soul of your tiny nation
I have seen an enormous light shinning bright inside my tiny soul
Not over Hanoi, the bombs are exploded over humans
and I along with everyone like me have thought the bombs are exploded over us
My Comrade!
My Mountain!
My ‘Lete River’!
Trust me
I have believed in your glorious victory
Humans die
Like trees that burn down in a wild fire
But humanity never dies
It resurrects-like fungus that grows after wildfire.
Standing on the shadow of Machhapuchhre Mountain
holding hands with the surrounding hills determined like a solemn vow
I am in a caliber to pledge
Victory will be yours
Victory will be ours
the ostentatious humanity that mourns in the church a death of a dog in the space
will be compelled to kill itself regretting  the homicide it orchestrated on the earth

(For Original Version:


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