the Tibet museum
Its celestial poise since antiquity never fails to agitate our patriotic pride.
– first caption in English on the wall walking in
high cheekbones on the high plateau
close to the ancestral grounds
it is the land of the talking calculator
Duo xiao chien? – they scrabble for the battery
when white faces loom
something to shrug off
lofty mountains, torrential rivers
welcome you – honourable guest
history is marching into us here
glorious comradely history
future as wry as the past
join up the dots
in any tongue – progress!
yes it takes patience
what else have we got?
the streets are a museum too
of wheel and hoof
I’ve never seen so many solar powered kettles
midsummer and still
I’ve never seen one come to the boil
streets belong to tourists and taxis
street vendors pack the world’s treasure away
it’s only the hard core devout
around the Barkhor,
around the Jokhang
around the clock
two pilgrims even
cover the circuit with synchronised prostrations
which could be Tibet’s contribution to Olympic culture
and why not?
safety in numbers, moral support
surely the truly devout wait for winter?