Snow, glacier, the ocean - elements of water, cold water.
And I drew a figure walking, searching, hoping to reunite. Every bit of drawing and burning felt as if I could reach somewhere deep and connect with these people whom I never met and whose lights of life may have lost.
This evening, a cool night of the autumn after a long summer, I was looking for words for this image, I had some kind of poem in my mind but it was vague. Then Tsering Woeser, a Tibetan poet/writer's poem book 'Tibet's True Heart" came into my mind and I picked it up to start flipping the pages.
I encountered a poem titled "The Other Side" and started reading it.
My heart trembled when I came to lines:
"When you poke through/That sheet of thin, thin paper/And your eyes (soon to close)/ Peer beyond it/
Taking in the scenery/On the other side/
It is her poem which she composed 26 years ago yet it felt as if this drawing was calling for the very poem of hers. How hearts and feelings travel beyond time and space.
Attached below are the whole version of the poem in English and Chinese, that has been just sent by her with her permission. ( note: "Tibet's True Heart" by Woeser is published by Ragged Banner Press, Translated byA.E.Clark. 2008)
The Other Side Tsering Woeser
When you're near death
There's always an instant
When you poke through
That sheet of then, thin paper
And your eyes ( soon to close)
Peer beyond it,
Taking in the scenery
On the other side.
Then your gaze slowly comes back
In time for your last breath here.
Are all waiting calmly,
Willing to put up with a great deal,
Not like when I was fully alive and kicking
And they tried so hard to hold me back.
Maybe they'd still like to hold me back:
I don't know,
I don't want to know.
Basically, it's just one finger:
If a feeble effort
Can poke through that piece of paper
And find death,
The only thing I fear is that (surprise!) I might not manage to die.
I might leap from the bed
Jabbing them with gusto....
Now that would be interesting.
(March 1990 Kangding)