On this Auspicious 11.11.11, With this "Ode to Black Necked Crane," I join the nation in expressing my heartiest felicitation for His Majesty's Good Health and Long Life. Happy Birth Day, Your Majesty the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
The day is also celebrated as the Annual Black-necked Crane Festival inBhutan so I dedicate this poem to this wonderful bird who is our regular winter visitor. May their species thrive forever.
Yet again, it is a season of emptiness
And with every gust of wind, each green foliage would fade.
The morning was chilly as I woke from drowsiness
So numb, I lost in thoughts to discover later in idyllic state.
It was that song, which overwhelmed me blissfully
The song of the bird, which is heavenly blessed
Oh, Black-necked Crane! You really thrilled this simple boy.
I was wrong, to describe emptiness in winter so foolishly,
When so punctually, you came and graced
This tiny Himalayan Kingdom with eternal joy.
From high above our hamlet adorned with elegant trees
When you poured your heart with melodious paeans,
Together in groups, we stare the boundless sky in ease
Whose emptiness is filled by the wealth of your hymns.
Sadly, to our myopic vision, you are invisible
But above those cumulus clouds, we hear you aloud;
Pleasing the angels and seeking blessings from almighty
For peace, prosperity and powers so invincible,
That would flourish among the mystical land’s crowd.
And we rejoice in harmony to envisage your ethereal beauty.
When in flocks you stroll the marshes with utmost fame
Tasting the remains of late autumn, those colourful trefoils
Locals sing in your name, like the songs you sing for them
As they reap in bounty, the fruit of their summer toils.
And when with rhythmic strain, you flap your wing
Thieves around the world would swarm the scenic vale,
To steal away your beauty with shutter’s snaps.
Phobjikha and Chamkhar, Khotokha and Bumdeling,
In these Buddhist sanctity, your safety avail
With compassionate local peasants, preventing gruesome craps.
When with the internal strife, the Monyulpas loathed,
Your song directed the revered master to southern provenance;
Phajo to flourish the dharma of Drukpa Kagyued
And Zhabdrung to set up the Dual System of Governance.
Though such a story wasn’t inscribed in pages of history,
Yet I presumed so, for both are of Tibetan Identity.
You proved mythical when Democracy rooted in this land
As the Party of Flying Cranes defeated that of Galloping Pony
To set precedence of good governance “With equity,
And justice” for all, as the politician claimed.
|painting of Black-necked Crane|
Your species might shrink as the world quenches its greed
Altering your heavenly habitat into hellish garbage,
Men are brutal. At the cost of others life, profusely they breed
To exploit the beauty of nature and leaves nothing in storage.
But, for you are bird blessed from blissful paradise
Drukyul shall remain as your Last Shangri-la.
With fresh air and water, and foods so abundant,
Flowers would blossom and rainbows would rise
Not of oddness, but to inscribe a mythical saga;
For you is a guest, that we would forlorn to let go extinct.
When all metabolisms losses its dynamism,
And when nature halts to a lethargic standstill,
When chillness freezes the activeness of our optimism,
Oh divine bird! You awaken all with sweet musical trill.
In your intoxicating note of shrill delight, I sink,
Enjoying the beauty of your pale whitish plumage.
When angels adorn you with white crystalline flake;
The best brewed Ara of autumns harvest, I would drink
To disseminate the pains of lost love and ephemeral rage
And to discover from you, your euphoric secrets without any mistake.
- Phobjikha, Chamkhar, Khotokha, Bumdeling: This are the four major wintering sites of Black-necked Cranes in Bhutan. Phobjikha and Khotokha are in Wangdue District, Chamkhar in Bumthang, and Bumdeling in Trashi Yangtse district.
- Monyul: Name given to Bhutan by the Tibetans before 17th century meaning the land where Bon religion is prevalent. Monyulpas, means people of Monyul.
- Phajo: A 13th century Tibetan master, who visited Bhutan in 1220 and spread the teachings of Drukpa Kagyued.
- Drukpa Kagyued: It is a sect of Buddhism, which has flourished in Tibet. Now it is one of the two main sects of Buddhism practiced in Bhutan, the other one being Nyingmapa.
- Zhabdrung: A 17th century Tibetan saint, who visited Bhutan in 1616 and resided permanently in Bhutan. He established a Dual System of Governance known as Choesid –Nyeden and built many Dzongs, which now serve as District Administrations.
- Drukyul: Meaning the “Land of thunder Dragon”, it is the equivalent term for Bhutan.
- Ara: It is a locally brewed wine after steam distillation.
P.S:Black-necked Crane is the last of the world's cranes to be discovered by the scientific community. Known by the Zoological name Grus nigricollis, Black-necked Cranes are native to Tibet, which migrate to lower regions during the harsh winter and Bhutan is one such winter destinations. Locally known as Thrung Thrung Karmo in Bhutan, they are considered Boddhisatvas or “agents of God", which has harmoniously coexisted with the residents largely due to strong Buddhist beliefs. According to legend, the cranes circle the Gangtey Temple clockwise three times as a sign of their devotion before landing in the marshy valley of Phobjikha. The bird appears in many Bhutanese folklore, song dances and historical references.
More Informations about Cranes:
Courtesy: All Photos are uploaded via google images.