Note: This is one of the five poems in the first section of Written in Blood. Theurang wrote this particular poem on 15 December 2008, when Beijing's propaganda machinery was spewing out 'burning, looting, smashing' lies to describe an overwhelmingly peaceful protests that spread across the Tibetan Plateau.
As you can see, this translation has none of the pun, edge and cutting sarcasm of the original Tibetan. Nevertheless, I hope that you will get some sense of Theurang's pulse.
News from the Hellish Realm
By Theurang (Tashi Rapten)
Translated from Tibetan by Bhuchung D. Sonam
Cold wind blows in this hellish realm
Causing an imbalance of hot and cold elements in people
There are many here who suffer from a contagious flu.
But the news about this realm is always fine and bright.
The news from this hellish realm is a document
A document that has lost the word ‘people’
A document with a lock and secret numbers
In this uncertain weather in the hellish realm
Newspaper is like a medical prescription for the sick
A prescription that they have to pay for but fetches no medicine
A prescription like the one stamped with the ‘Constitution’
The news from this realm is a contagious disease
A disease that transmits through people’s mouths and ears
Those who have the disease are servants in this realm
If this hellish realm is like an infirm dragging his shits in his pants
Isn't the newspaper but a paper to wipe one’s bottom?