how it fits

how it fits
          
for N. of the Altai

Tolgoit
Tolgoit district of Ulaanbaatar, acknowledgements to Beth Burdick on Flickr for the use of this image.

yesterday evening
walking down a
street of star,
street light and crickets
houses angled in shadow
like autumn pending,
i recalled that city*
where i bled through
a life, recalled the poems
i scratched out there
that only felt like
driving a nail through
your own hand or
was it heart?
words that were
hard and frozen
through that winter
that shuffled the fate
of so many you knew,
the vodka run out
and blood in the
vein turns to
snow crystals,
a splendour in early
sun that fatally
melts, recalled a
funeral there
with chanting in
a tongue* none
who mumbled and
rocked along with it
could understand
yet told me that to
the soul these words
rang clear as a bell
through its night to
lift it from the hell
of its own making,
recalled the makeshift
tables for the wake laid
out in the yard, the relatives,
friends, the neighbours known
only by sight who came or
didn’t, so making their point,
that bad bunch of kids who
threw stones now getting
a decent feed at least,
i recalled and felt how
a memory may fit
in a memory fits
in a memory fits
in a memory like
an oak that unfolds
in the midnight along
a street under star,
street light a street of
crickets and houses angled
in shadow like autumn
pending

february 26, 2015

*Ulaanbatar
*Tibetan; many of the sutra in Mongolian Buddhism are recited in their original Tibetan; while the monks learn it, in the same way as the clergy in Europe learnt Latin, lay people do not understand it.

Copyright ©2020 Peter Le Baige.  All Rights Reserved

The music is the ‘Sound of the Blue Altai’ by the Mongolian musicologist and composer Dagvan Ganpurev played here by the group Altai established to promote ancient nomadic culture and music.  This performance features the so-called Altai harp, an ancient instrument found in a grave in the Altai mountains and recreated after joint research between German and Mongolia. The harp had its ‘debut’ as a refound instrument in 2014, having not been heard for some 1,400 years.  The scratched runes on the back of the original suggest it belonged to someone with the name of ‘Churee’.

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