Sunday, 30 August 2015

Quiet Dissent

Quiet Dissent
For Tenzin Delek Rinpoche

You stood tall as a mountain,
You didn’t slip through their fingers like glass-noodles;
They had power over your body
But your mind like a giant eagle in flight was free.
Through your thick glasses you witnessed
Display of their fear with armoured cars,
Automatic rifles, gas masks, fire extinguishers;
Tongues of hatred from the electric batons
Dissolved powerless into your flesh –

You were in deep retreat in the prison cell,
Meditation cutting across
Layers of lies piled up in their documents,
Fabrications spewed on papers printed by minions
Who leave their minds at home and report at work
To follow dictates of the high-ups.
Into your frail frame flowed
The fluid terror they unleashed from
Sunup until wolves howled at midnight,
Impossible sensation of thin bamboo strips
Driven into your finger nails,
Ghosts of their shadows leaned on your walls,
All through this your mind rested in the ground
Silent invocations arising
From the infinite mother-like space –

I was staring into the pale Indian skies
When the news cried:
You were no more.
A hint of poison tinged your nails and lips
Jail uniform draped over your disjointed shoulders
Your glasses fallen from your shrunken head
Cracked on the floor.
At night they singed your remains
Even your ashes could not be claimed; but
Your spirit glowing in sublime wisdom
Took root in the snow land,
Manifesting in six million incarnations,
Twelve million arms and twelve million eyes
To gnaw at their insecure psyche
To raise fever of their fear.
To melt bullets defying cold orders.
Sparks from your life-light illuminate our footpaths
Dust of your mountain home settle on the
Windowsills of our rented rooms
Beams from your fractured eyeglasses
Mingle with the rage in our hearts.
You are us, living
In a smoky tent pitched on a mountainside.
You are us, living
In a transit camp at a forsaken border town.
You are us, living
In a tin-roofed shack in the hot plains.
You are us, living
In a refurbished condo in an illuminated city.

Now that your spirit has enveloped the globe,
Fear multiplies in the shady cracks of their hearts.

Written in memory of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, spiritual master,  environmentalist, social worker,  freedom fighter and human rights advocate. 

Tenzin Delek worked to develop social, medical, educational and religious institutions for Tibetan nomads, and advocated for environmental conservation in the face of indiscriminate Chinese logging and mining projects in Tibet. On 2 December 2002, the Chinese authorities sentenced him to death on trumped up charges of bombing and explosions. The sentence was later commutated to life in prison.

He said, "Since I am a Tibetan, I have always been sincere and devoted to the interests and well-being of Tibetan people. That is the real reason why the Chinese do not like me and framed me. That is why they are going to take my precious life even though I am innocent."

On 12 July 2015, Tenzin Delek died  most likely murdered  in a Chinese prison after 13 years of incarceration.