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Tsoltim N. Shakabpa

Tsoltim N. Shakabpa is the son of the well-known Tibetan historian and statesman, Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa. He was a senior international banker until he suffered a major stroke in 1999. Despite this setback, he continues to fight for Tibet's independence and writes poetry to stay mentally sharp and philosophically alert.

All poems are copyright © Tsoltim N. Shakabpa.


Read more of Tsoltim N. Shakabpa's poems.

time after time
crime after crime
they have committed
and not admitted
to the pain they have brought
to the suffering they have wrought

cave after cave
grave after grave
we have created
and not berated
the battles we have fought
the revenge we have sought

both sides are strong
both sides are wrong
they blame us for our actions
we blame them for their factions
t'is true, opposites attract each other
in this case to destroy one another

ignorance used is intelligence recused
and knowledge misused is power abused
so whether you are ignorant or knowledgeable
be compassionate in ways considerable
for compassion has no natural enemies
while knowledge and ignorance can cause tragedies


where have all the gentle herdsmen gone
nomads who used to live on land so bountiful?
were are all the carefree yaks and antelopes
that grazed on land so fair and roamed without scare?
where are the thousands of maroon-robed monks
who prayed from brilliant dawn to radiant dusk?
where are the noble, landed gentry
clad in their rich brocade dresses and fine silk shirts?
where are the prosperous and boisterous merchants
who played mahjong all crispy evening long?
where are the fortunate beggars on the streets
who begged just once a day
and slept on full stomachs all short night long?

Tibet was a land bereft of want
contented to live by herself
abhoring war, embracing peace
living the now gracefully and merrily
until the then came
and interrupted her utopic life

then is now and now is hell
living under bloody red Chinese rule
stifling and oppressed
demeaning and repressed
imprisoned and murdered
threatened and slandered
but then, then will come again
and the cycle of life
will turn the bed of thorns
into a kingdom of roses
and Tibet! O! Tibet!
will be free once more

All poems are copyright © Tsoltim N. Shakabpa.

[ photo | nancy jo johnson ]

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