Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus
goldenlangur

Hoopoe

Recommended Posts

goldenlangur

Hoopoe

 

 

 

Tashi remembers that June dawn, when the red sun suddenly bore through the monsoon clouds and lit up his grandfather’s ponytail. Aza (Uncle as he was affectionately called) Boku has promised to show the eight year old how to shadow a hoopoe and locate its nest in the wooded cliffs above Zilikha.

 

They walk in a single file through the Blue Pines, the air moist with the resinous smell of the trees. Aza Boku treads resolutely in the lead, murmuring prayers to the guardians of the woods, his long oracle’s gho swishing:

‘You have to respect the sacred owners,’ he whispers when he senses Tashi forming his lips into a question. Then abruptly he holds up a long, delicate hand and gestures to Tashi to stop:

 

‘What can you hear?’ He asks the boy.

 

Puzzled, Tashi shakes his head. Aza Boku flicks a hand over the boy’s head:

 

‘When will you learn?’ He sighs. Then he begin to recite a song of Milarepa:

 

The lot of all creatures is like foam on a ….

Like the dew that vanishes in the first rays of the sun…’

 

‘Water! Stream!’ The boy bursts out excitedly recognizing the reference.

 

And there they come upon the gorge, frothing with the recent rains but not yet thundering, as it will be, in a couple of months. Aza Boku points to the cliff faces on either side of the gorge:

 

‘These birds build their nest in the crags,’ he says in a low tone.

 

Tashi shrugs:

 

‘Can’t see any birds here.’

 

‘The female and the young brood spray the nest with faeces. It is the males that call. You can smell their arrival and breeding,’ Aza Boku explains.

 

The boy then realizes that what he thought was rotting vegetation has a more pungent stink. Suddenly, he raises his hand and Aza Boku smiles. There is a movement ahead of them. Unfazed by their presence a hoopoe is foraging in the under growth. Aza Boku hangs back as his grandson crouches closer.

 

The boy sneezes. In a whirr of wings and with a hiss the hoopoe shoots out of the shrubs and is lost among the trees. Tashi does not dare face his grandfather. Then he hears snorts of laughter and turns to see Aza Boku wiping his tears. He takes the boy into his arms:

 

‘Chagay (idiot)!’ He giggles affectionately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

Aza: Uncle in local parlance

gho: male garment

Milarepa : Buddhist hermit and poet.

 

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aleksandra

Goldenlangur. Always your writing is some new world of writing to me. In almost all your poetry or prose writings you include a words who are new for me, idioms. And that makes your text so rich and deep with a lot of quality. I love that way.

 

Here you expressed something very meaningful and on the best way:

‘You have to respect the sacred owners,’ he whispers when he senses Tashi forming his lips into a question

 

I have to work some more on this piece and to able to say more.

 

Much enjoyed my friend

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
goldenlangur

I'm very grateful Aleksandra that you show such willingness to enter a world that is different from you own. Yet I always feel that you understand in a fundamental way and beyond words, the basic premise of the beliefs, thoughts and customs of my people.

 

With deep appreciation,

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tonyv

It's notable, that Aza Boku is taking Tashi out to teach him "how to shadow a hoopoe and locate its nest in the wooded cliffs" and not how to track and kill some animal. The fact that he "promised to show" the boy how this is done indicates that there is anticipation and shows the boy's willingness to learn.

 

Naturally, like any good elder, the grandfather is eager to use the opportunity to teach the boy more -- something about life -- and he uses more than just words. He also teaches by example: he

... treads resolutely in the lead,
murmuring prayers to the guardians of the woods ...

‘You have to respect the sacred owners,’ he whispers ...
[emphasis mine]

He also "recite(s) a song," probably a traditional one. He then even touches upon a subject the boy does not yet need to understand but someday will:

Tashi shrugs:

 

‘Can’t see any birds here.’

 

‘The female and

the young brood spray the nest with faeces. It is the males that call.

You can smell their arrival and breeding,’ Aza Boku explains.

 

The boy then realizes that what he thought was rotting vegetation has a more pungent stink.

By doing so, he indicates his open-mindedness and his willingness to answer any questions the boy may have later on in life. Like any good parent, he wants the child to come to him, rather than to outsiders or friends, with the most important questions.

 

In the end, Aza Boku teaches the boy one more crucial lesson:

Aza Boku hangs back as his grandson crouches closer.

 

The boy

sneezes. In a whirr of wings and with a hiss the hoopoe shoots out of

the shrubs and is lost among the trees. Tashi does not dare face his

grandfather. Then he hears snorts of laughter and turns to see Aza Boku

wiping his tears. He takes the boy into his arms:

 

‘Chagay (idiot)!’ He giggles affectionately.

With his pleasant reaction, he teaches Tashi something about humanity -- that man is more important than art or some task.

 

As always, I enjoyed the setting, the names, and the local references. Thanks for including the footnotes.

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
goldenlangur

Hi Tony,

 

How I've enjoyed your fantastic reading icon_smile.gif The way you highlight certain images and instances to illustrate your perspective is very rewarding. Your use of a conversational voice is wonderful icon_smile.gif

 

I'm particularly grateful for this great interpretation :

,.... he teaches Tashi something about humanity -- that man is more important than art or some task.

Tony

 

I hope to write some more about Tashi. Your reading encourages me very much.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.