At the Ends of the Twisted Black Steel Ennead 


(Translated from Tibetan by Rongwo Lugyal)


With the terms that have sunk  

in the dust for years, 

I will write you a letter tonight…


My mind has faced droughts many times.

I am a swallow hoping for the love of raindrops—

exactly what I cherish in my heart,

exactly what reaches into my heart.

My heart has died;

I am left behind. 


Fate’s misunderstanding

separated us to either end

of the twisted black steel ennead.

“If not the mind, the body can’t be escaped.”

It is a painful premise

not having much to talk about

yet being able to read minds.


I must learn to be brazen.

I must turn myself into a hollow body

that feels neither joy nor woe.

I must confine my mind.

I must incarcerate my whole life.


In the remainder of someone else’s fate,

beside yours and mine,

there was a residue,

and I stamped it thereafter.

The karma of our previous lives

matured at the same time.


I am scared to be close to you.

Please leave me in the cool inability

to neither speak nor feel.

My life should fundamentally be an inuksuk.


In this life,

not having a chance to hold your hand in relaxation

and being unable to speak a conscious word—

Is this the debt of a thousand years?

Is that the sorrow of the inexpressible?


I don’t want to know how many prayer flags waver

on every rocky step of your expectations.

I don’t mean to talk about how many human minds

are rigidified with my stories.

All that beauty is in the distance, unreachable to us,

and we could never return to that soft, smooth season.


To our uttered oath, to the final hopeless hope,

which one of us is the ultimate sentry?

In this world of sand slopes, you are the one who tied my bones tight

on the day when my skull was scattered on the earth.

The shadow of the wind that we wrote in the invisible space

is the warm sunlight of the lonesome soul in the stormy desert.


Is this a sad, sad story?



(Written on April 18, 2019)

The original Tibetan poem, chaknak gudril gyi nényi na, [Tib. ལྕགས་ནག་དགུ་སྒྲིལ་གྱི་སྣེ་གཉིས་ན།] was published in bö kyi gyerdön chitek chen mo [Tib. བོད་ཀྱི་གྱེར་འདོན་སྤྱི་སྟེགས་ཆེན་མོ།] on June 6, 2019 and can be found here:



Pematso (པདྨ་འཚོ།) was born at the end of the sixties in Sakyil village of Rebgong, Tibet. She is one of the most esteemed and prolific contemporary Tibetan female poets who writes under the name Chimay. After graduating from Qinghai Nationalities Institute (now University) in 1987, she taught students in Rebgong for over three decades. Post-retirement, she has given literature lectures online and in-person at domestic and international institutions. Her television appearances and talks on literary works have been greatly received. Hundreds of her short stories, research papers, prose, and poems have been published in སྦྲང་ཆར། (Light Rain), གངས་རྒྱན་མེ་ཏོག (The Snow Flower), and བོད་ཀྱི་རྩོམ་རིག་སྒྱུ་རྩལ། (Tibetan Literature and Art Journal), the premier literary journals in Tibet. Chimay’s works, བརྩེ་དུངས་དང་ལས་དབང་། (“Love and Fate”) and འབྲོག་ཁྱི། (“The Tibetan Mastiff”) both received Snow Flower and Light Rain awards. She has published the poem anthologies ཟླ་བའི་རྨི་ལམ། (The Dreams of the Moon), which won the Wild Yak Prize for Literature in 2015, and ཆུའི་ལང་ཚོ། (The Youth of Water). Her piece ཨ་ལོང་། (“The Ring”), which first appeared in The Journal of Nationalities Literature and was published by the Chinese Writers Association, won the Nationality Literature award in 2017. In April 2022, she gave talks on Tibetan female literature and on the background of “The Ring” at the University of Virginia and Harvard University. Her third book ལོ་ངོ་སྟོང་གི་རེ་སྒུག (A Thousand Years’ Longing) will be released at the end of 2022.

Rongwo Lugyal (རོང་བོ་ཀླུ་རྒྱལ།) was born and raised in Rebgong. He is a writer, editor, and translator who translates from English to Tibetan and vice versa. Many of his works and translations are published in literary journals and on online platforms. He is currently the Tibetan Culture Coordinator at the Tibet Center of the University of Virginia.