April 15


Ko Un

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 104 in 2001.
translated by Brother Anthony of Taize, Prof. Young-moo Kim, and Gary Gach.

15 April 1992

I stayed home all day.
Friends came,
friends went.
Afterwards I there was a storm.
In Lhassa, Tibet, a blind lama died.

16 APRIL 1992

I stayed home all day.
No one came.
The body of the Tibetan lama was moved to a hill.
A few dozen eagles gathered
from among all the starving eagles of India, of Asia,
and began pecking at the sacred corpse.

17 APRIL 1992

stayed home all day, again.
I read an encyclopedia.
All I had read I forgot at once.
Only the Tibetan lama's bare bones were left.
Empty nirvana, indeed !

18 APRIL 1992

I stayed home all day, again.
Lo and behold,
the dead lama had left a son, born in secret.
In deepest night, he collected the lama's remains.
After sunrise, he made two necklaces with the bones.
One he kept.
The other he decided to sell to American poet Allen Ginsberg.
So now nirvana links Lhassa and New York !