Mongolian Poetry 04: Thoughts from an overnight stay on the remote steppe

This is an interpretation into the English language of another of Zava Damdin’s poems. In the Mongolian language and the Mongolian Cyrillic script the title is,  “БОДОЛ АНУ АГЛАГ ХЭЭР ХОНОХУЙ.”



The sun sets behind the expansive mountain range before me
The wind calms down, the mind too becomes peaceful
A diffuse milky-white light spreads out as twilight approaches
Somewhere, the sound of cows breathing and horses spurred onwards

Stars stud the sky in patterns of repeated shapes, Lady Moon is visiting!
A poem arises in my chest, the mind awash with relaxation
Beneath a lustrous curtain of silken clouds, artistic patterns of figurative art
On the move with the breeze, in harmony with my poem

The majestic arc of the Milky Way now bows to night’s edge until dawn
I finish composing my song, Moon Dakini returns to her home
A gold-orange radiance begins to decorate the sky’s horizon
Little son me, hastily reads my new poem to Madam Sun

A poet’s happiness comes from just the thought of spending a night out on the remote steppe
A writer’s suffering and sadness comes from having a loving kind heart
Those who speak with a melodious voice get drunk on the wine of thought distilled from meaning
Such poems can be sung at any time, but from where do they come?

A boy’s offering for Saraswati’s enjoyment
Pure Land of Swoyambhu, Delgertsogt Mountain

Zava Damdin

Translated by Zava Damdin and C.Pleteshner.
English interpretation 06.10.2023 from the original Mongolian 28.09.2023.


 Mongolian Cyrillic Text Version


Наран уулын толгой лугаа одохуй дор
Салхи намжиж сэтгэл ч бас тогтуун болмуй
Харуй бүрий болоод сүүн гэгээ татахуйд
Хаа нэгтээ үхэр амьсгаалж адуу тургина

Одод мичид түгж саран авхай айлчлахуй дор
Шүлэг цээжин дор ургаж сэтгэл гүнээ уужирна
Торгон үүлс хөшиглөн татахуй дор уран хээ угалзламуй Агаар салхин дор хөдлөхүй инү шүлэгтэй минь хоршмуй

Үзэмжит их сүүн зам хэвийхүй үүр шөнийн зааг дор Дуулал тэрлэж гүйцсээр саран дагина гэртээ харьмуй
Хул шаргал туяа тэнгэрийн хаяаг чимэхүй лүгээ
Хөвүүн би дуулал шүлгээ наран ахай дор уншихаар яармуй

Шүлэгчдийн жаргал болбаас бодол нь аглаг хээр хонох буюу Найрагчдын зовлон гуниг бусдыг хайрлахуй сэтгэл нь хэмээлтэй Яруу зохисчид утгын нэрмэл бодролын дарсанд согтох аж Ямарваа цаг үе дор шүлэг дуулал харин хаанаас ундарнам

Сарасвадыг баясгагч хөвгүүн
Соёмбот Орон, Дэлгэрцогт уул

Зава Дамдин




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. pp38-39.



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 MongolianCyrillic 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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