Mongolian Poetry 03: Wonderful Etude of the Milky Way

This is an interpretation into the English language of one of Zava Damdin’s poems. In the Russian language and its Cyrillic script the title is,”Чудесные Этюды Млечного Пути”.

Wonderful Etude of the Milky Way

Why so mesmerising and elegant?
Like a young shoot sprouting
Like a fig flower blossoming
Like the flight of a gracious swan

Why is it, that we come to this world?
Adorned with a delightful sensibility
So matter-of-factly, displaying and expressing beauty
With just one glance, crystal clear eyes seeing all in ten directions

On the ice of the soul of a frozen humanity
A verse is drawn with the poetic brush of dance
Melting the permafrost with the heat of a hot fire
Each movement a song of secret meaning, quintessential and melodic

Why is it so mystical?
Like a dream, amid the haze of a mirage

Like a lotus growing out of mud
An exquisite sketch of The Milky Way *

Pure Land of Swoyambhu

Zava Damdin

Translated by Zava Damdin and C.Pleteshner.

English interpretation 16.02.2023 from the original Mongolian 16.02.2022.



* I am a Lama, here in the Soyombo Temple with our little monks watching the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Whilst fifteen-year-old skater Kamila Valieva gives us moments of figure skating bliss, six-year-old Amba Lama declares in three breaths, “Teacher, Teacher, this girl is exactly like plant sprouts, exactly like flower blossoms, exactly how a bird flies ….!”

All fine muses decorate our universe. Without such marvellous phenomena, the world would be miserable. How our minds were moved! Her own teacher may well be a special-hearted one. Thank you Kamila! The whole world and all sentient beings on our mountain rejoice. You have inspired us to also study with joy and complete dedication to attain similarly great results. May all beings develop amazing knowledge: the inner talent for method and wisdom.

(ZDR, 16.02.2023)



A Bilingual Collection of Zava Damdin (1976- ) Poetry. Vol. 1 (2021-2024). The Zava Damdin Sutra and Scripture Institute Library Archive, Manjushri Temple Soyombot Oron, Mongolia. Unpublished manuscript. p44.



Excluding the preparatory training and clarity of narrative structure and ideation required, the journey of such compositions tends to move through three phases, starting with: (i) the creation of the original composition with the vertical Mongol Bichig Script; (ii) the subsequent transfer and rendering of this transcript into the Mongolian Cyrillic Script, but in this example into the Russian Cyrillic Script; and then on to, (iii) a (British) English language interpretation, such as you see here. I bring to this interpretive exercise my own particular collection of English language narrative skills and their imagined audiences. From this perspective, a final English language version of a narrative emerges as a negotiated text.

Translation is always an interpretation into another culture.



In keeping with ethical scholarly research and publishing practices and the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, I anticipate that anyone using or translating into another language all or part of this article and submitting it for accreditation or other purpose under their own name, to acknowledge this URL and its author as the source. Not to do so, is contrary to the ethical principles of the Creative Commons license as it applies to the public domain.

end of transcript.

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© 2013-2024. CP in Mongolia. This post is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Documents linked from this page may be subject to other restrictions. Posted: 25 March 2024. Last updated: 25 March 2024.