Mongolian Poetry 05: One Living Universe

This is an interpretation into the English language of a poem by the scholar-poet Zava Damdin (1976- ). The title in the Mongolian language and its Mongolian Cyrillic script is, “Нэгэн Орчил”.


One Living Universe

Writing one line
Like one flower blossoming

Writing one stanza
Like one tree gracefully bearing fruit

Writing one poem
Like the birth of a new living being

One attuned meaning
Like falling in great love

Composing one work of literature
Like sculpting one great statue

One song arises
Like perceiving a miracle

One meditation
Like discovering a continent

One sigh, feels
Like a storm-tossed wind

One humble smile
Like the touch of warm sunlight

One’s sadness and crying
Like one big downpour

One deep thought
Like one great mountain

One heart’s excitement
Like a ripple sweeping across vast terrain

One bird’s warbling
Like the sound of one complete and perfect song

Whistling wind
Like playing a piece of music

Swaying blade of grass
Like an orchestra conductor

One horse thundering
Like the voice of a Buddha

One steppe
Like one great ocean

One big sea
Like one great sentient being

Dreaming one dream
Like living one’s whole life

One person’s life
Like a thick book of literature

One aging human body
Like one planet and the universe

One death and impermanence
Like Earth’s annihilation

One new birth
Like one new era starting

One old history
Like one new start

One living autobiography
Just a memory in the future


Pure Land of Swoyambhu
Zava Damdin

Translated by Zava Damdin and C.Pleteshner
English interpretation 30.09.2023 from the original Mongolian 27.09.2023


 Mongolian Cyrillic Text Version

Нэгэн Орчил

Нэгэн мөр бичих
Нэгэн цэцэг ургаж дэлбээлэх шиг

Нэгэн бадаг бичих
Нэгэн мод найлзаж жимслэх шиг

Нэгэн шүлэг бичих
Нэгэн төрөлхийтэн шинээр төрөх шиг

Нэгэн яруу утга
Нэгэн их хайрыг ундруулах шиг

Нэгэн дуулал ургах
Нэгэн гайхамшиг лугаа учрах шиг

Нэгэн бясалгал хийх
Нэгэн тивийг сонордох шиг

Нэгэн санаа алдах
Нэгэн их салхи шуурга шиг

Нэгэн инээмсэглэл тодруулах
Нэгэн наран мандах шиг

Нэгэн гуниглаад уйлах
Нэгэн их хур буух шиг

Нэгэн гуниглаад уйлах
Нэгэн их хур буух шиг

Нэгэн гүн бодол
Нэгэн их уул шиг

Нэгэн сэтгэл хөдлөхүй
Нэгэн их газар долгисох шиг

Нэгэн шувуу донгодох
Нэгэн дуу дуулах шиг

Нэгэн салхин исгэрэх
Нэгэн хөгжим эгшиглүүлэх шиг

Нэгэн өвс дохилзох
Нэгэн хөгжмийн удирдаач шиг

Нэгэн адуу янцгаах
Нэгэн бурханы хоолой шиг

Нэгэн тал нутаг
Нэгэн их далай шиг

Нэгэн агуу тэнгис
Нэгэн их бодгаль шиг

Нэгэн зүүд зүүдлэх
Нэгэн амьдралд амьдрах шиг

Нэгэн хүмүүний амьдрал
Нэгэн их зохиол шиг

Нэгэн нас бие
Нэгэн гариг ертөнц шиг

Нэгэн үхэл мөнх бус
Нэгэн галав юүлэх шиг

Нэгэн шинэ төрөл
Нэгэн эрин эхлэх шиг

Нэгэн хуучны түүх
Нэгэн шинэ эхлэл шиг

Нэгэн шинэ намтар
Нэгэн ирээдүйн дурсамж шиг

Соёмбот Орон
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.  pp28-31. 



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; 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: 27 March 2024. Last updated: 27 March 2024.