Thursday, August 19, 2010


In his poems, the poet is always flying, joined with the wings of his imagination. T.Erdenetsogt has called his own revolving poetic space his ‘’Sky of mind.’’ In his sky of mind, the time flows, space expands, the horses gallop the snowy mountains rise up, the stars glimmer and the moon gleams. And the autumn hoarfrosts chill the bone, the flower fade, the mind grows melancholy. We realise that there is nothing which is eternal. And so we make offerings to the Buddhas and give pleasure to the shamanic spirits of the State. And so the poet makes the many stars in his sky of mind to shine, which Erdenetsogt himself calls ‘’Turning the Wheel of Pleasures.’’ Throughout Sky of Mind, the poet’s many thousands of waves, his hundreds and hundreds of birds of thought, float as prayers to acknowledge joy and sadness. This is the inner world of the poet, Erdenersogt’s sky of mind, it full of colors and vast waves, it reveals its own special landscape.
Reading Erdenetsogt’s first two published collections, it appeared that he flew free in the poetry of his own sky, that he followed his own imagination. This is what literary scholarship might call a search for a personal style. But in my opinion, it is better understood as a freefall, on the twin wings of wisdom and spirit, a leap into
an inner world.
I am very pleased that the English translator Simon Wickham-Smith has chosen to make this translation of Erdenetsogt’s Sky of Mind. He has also translated the work of one of the fathers of monfolian literature, Danzanravjaa, collections of the leading contemporary poets O.Dashbalbar and D.Nyamsuren, and such younger writers as T.Bavuudorj, and now T.Erdenetsogt. he has grasped Sky of Mind through the eyes of a translator. At the point where the Mongolian poet and the English translator intersect, there appears Sky of Mind. This is the brightness of the stars. Our famous poet and scholar D.Batbayar once said that Erdenetsogt was one of the children of Heaven. O would add to that list of the children of Heaven Simon Wickham-Smith.
The children of the blue Heaven fly together as friends in the sky of mind, creating the written culture of humanity, and I am pleased to see here the results of suchfine work.

                                                                      President, Mongolian Academy of Poetry and Culture 19 vi 08


I’ll look away, though
The power of mind
Will not bridle my look.

I’ll hide my love, though
The power of mind
Will not tether my love.

I’ll protect my word’s though
The power of mind
Will not rein in my words.

I’ll speak the truth, though
The power of actions
Will not whip my mind.


Let my small sadness send a bird to you.
Let my weak mind make a necklace of wild flowers.
Let my own heart bring tears to my lover’s gaze.
Let my carve strange words in gold and whisper them in your ear.
Love’s red rose,
my bright and royal destiny.
Please protect my desire,
swim in my deep joy.
Let my give to the birds of spring the leaves which fell in autumn.
Let me please with love’s wine the woman who has touched me.
Let me take in my hands the flowers of August for March,
my love, send to me those words I am hoping for.
Love’s red rose,
my bright and royal destiny.
Please proceed, my angel,
into the pure temple of memory.
Though covered by a bright parasol, let me kiss your lips.
Please think that these joys of today will be eternal.
I shall take and caress your delicate hands,
my love, and in days to come let us welcome the run.
winter’s happenings are thite
winter’s gaze is cold
winter’s love is freezing
winter’s tryst is simple
winter’s dreams are dark
winter’s festivities are modest
winter’s separation is pale

18 vi 99

A person it is who goes up to heaven.
A feather it is which sink into the sea.
A dream it is which covets gold.
A wish it is which takes shelter amid life.

A woman it is who sinks into the flowers.
A picture it is which overnights within the mind
A word it is which journeys on the wind.
A song it is which emerges from thought.

A person it is who becomes a Buddha.
A wish it is which is wealth from grain.
A bird it is which lives upon the land.
A memory it is which withers not, nor grows old.
11 vii 99

Someone else,
someone other than me, is
going in another direction, is
thinking of someone else, is
looking somewhere else, is
planning something else,
Someone else,
someone other than me.

I fight with someone else,
I make peace with someone else,
I protect someone else from another,
I tell lies about someone else to others,
I make requests of someone else,
I am distressed, can barely look at someone else,
I feel their pain, I take care of them.
Someone else,
someone other than me.
9 x 00


‘’Whoever discovers truth in the morning,
may that evening die.’’

Why does the orphaned white camel
of my mind keep on bellowing?
My freedom comes from finding, now and not tomorrow,
why day and night it encircles me.

The proud white lion of my mind rises,
drunk and disheveled, it approaches with shaking mane.
My freedom comes from knowing, now and not this eveinig,
why it breaks through other people’s quiet.

In the breast of my mind’s sacred gazelle
I hide the wickedness and goodness I have done.
My freedom comes from recognizing truth,
from always lying down in peace, without a word.


On the 80th anniversary of Munhhan sum

The thundering of a horse, fast as the wind,
the spirit of virility arisen in its mind.
A bright flower on the yellow steppe,
it stroked our hair with a woman’s gentleness.
My homeland, my cradle, hitched upon my dreams,
with herd of antelope pulsing throuth the mirage.
My homeland, raised with heartfelt melody,
the call of birds, suspended on a line of flight.

I drove the cranes across the edge of the clay marshes
in my mischievous youth, with a wry smile.
A herd of antelope danced in circles
on the brown and oil-drenched hills.
My homeland, my cradle, hitched upon my dreams,
with herd of antelope pulsing throuth the mirage.
My homeland, raised with heartfelt melody,
the call of birds, suspended on a line of flight.

The hearth fire burned in the brazier,
and the children were happy under the round roofring.
The stars of destiny shone like prayer flags in the sky,
desire emblazoned in eternal prayer.
My homeland, my cradle, hitched upon my dreams,
with herd of antelope pulsing throuth the mirage.
My homeland, raised with heartfelt melody,
the call of birds, suspended on a line of flight.
11 ii 03

Time’s white birds circle over the roof of the ger.
Time’s sacred memories turn in people’s mind.
Time’s white horses gallop in the valley.
Time’s gentle river that flows over the Earth.

Time’s young hare freezes under a bush.
Time’s itself hides among desires.
Time’s breath growls in the chest of a lion.
Time’s glares into on the people’s minds.

Time’s rainbow of white jade advances over the hills.
Time’s gammadion stands out in the blue sky.
Time’s royal throne withers as it waits for its master.
Time’s turn’s grey on the peaks of the mountains.

‘’Truth and nakedness are like the absence of cause and effect.’’
(From my journals)
In the wind that blows and erodes color are naked.
In the stream that flows and erodes stones are naked.
Against the lips that kiss and erode lips are naked .
In the palms that caress and erode the body is naked.
In the midday heat flowers are naked.
In the winter’s chill trees are naked.
In high sky the moon is naked.
In deep river fish are naked.
In the dream that’s missing the emptiness is naked.
At night when the fox goes hunting the darkness is naked.
In the sadness of orphans tears are naked.
In the truth of death humans are naked.
In the truth of being left behind the one alone is naked.
In the truth of destiny traces are naked.

For my maternal uncle U.Erdenebayar

The yellow, yellow grasses with a zither’s melody,
the little sharga horses with sinews reaching to shambala,
water from a spring with healing properties
The cosmic rays which touch the gilded mountain peaks.
The wild steppe of my Dariganga.

The rabbit in the moon spends the night, warmed in
the silver carigana of Golden Hill.
The high-born woman awaits her lover, reflected in the
waters of the Ganga.
A million years ago, men wore a path up Shiliin Bogd,
and wind and antelopes flash here and there,
under the sun and the moon.
The wild steppe of my Dariganga.

At dusk, the stone men come to life and wash in the
waters of the Duut.
Beautiful swans retur, they circle the lake, calling,
weeping for their plumes.
Around the elders’ hearth, the story begins, the
story they enjoy,
and there, the perfect great light, the cradle of a
clear mind.
The wild steppe of my Dariganga.

The saiga and the wounded wolf have protected them
selves just the same.
Secrets have been gathered, unsolved, loike the yellowed
pages of a book.
The words of an oath, clear as glass, have been re
peated like an echo.
A silver cup is filled with distillate, the mind too.
The wild steppe of my Dariganga.

The winds of Golden Hill have drawn the white horses,
and the eternal great light has feasted with fiddle melodies.
I have explained this life of coming and going ,
I have shown this life of remaining and abandoning ,
The wild steppe of my Dariganga.

In the glory of Shiliin Bogd , rising among the mists ,
we have brandished Mongolia’s many pennants.
The golden strands of the rising sun have moved
among the grasses, and are brought
eternally to life in human forgetting in memory.
The wild steppe of my Dariganga.

Where the orphaned swan does not spend the night,
the elders taste the clear waters of the Ganga,
they sing “The Little Sharga” ,and follow Toroi’s road.
The song began at morning ,sounds out until the
shining sleep of night,
and the high blue heavens bow down.
The wild steppe of my Dariganga.


On the path of tradition.
I am walking in cold weather.
This distant path, with neither end
nor beginning, pitches mightily and rolls
On the path of tradition,
I throw light into the fearful darkness.
This path, going forth with neither boundaries
nor destination, is uphill and mightily hard.
In the ravine between truth and lies,
I have walked into hailstorms and snowstorms,
stepping out alone among many.
In the tradition of the path,
I step out, boastful as a Haan.
In the tradition of the path,
I crawl obediently like a serf.
And, since I don’t know when I’ll be coming back,
why should I make pains to hurry down this path?
8 iii 04

Traversing the edges of the cosmos,
it flashed in the moon’s sphere.
It broke from its site upon the land,
it crossed the boundaries of the world,
and held fast to the stars and planets.
It gathers up the world’s great mountains,
the ornament of the blue rises aloft.
Otgontenger, my beloved.
Bowing down to my great
and lofty beloved, I have dedicated
this my dear brothers
Ts Bavuudorj and Ch Uuganbayar.
The lion roars about
its peaceful white mountain.
Oh, but is that the wind?
The golden fiddle sounds
amid the protective peaks of white.
Oh, but is that a horse?
The mist shines in the air
on the white savior mountain.
Oh, but is that the moon?


The white gods of Mongolia are beckoning,
the covers of Halkha’s great mountains lend support.
The queen cleanses her feet in the clear river and,
in his mountain seat, the Haan turns his prayerscarf mind blue.
The white gods all Mongolia occupy the cosmos,
and we pray whit joy to the most high Buddha.
Purification, like the Jetsundampa’s word, melds with harmony,
and the spirit of blue Mongolia rises to occupy the earth.
They rise to occupy the earth, the people milk their destiny.
The people milk the destiny, they raise the wind horses.
The spirit on the wind horse steed is great Otgontenger,
and the white horse on the pennant, its golden mane erect,
soars and swirls towards pure Shambala.
This pure Shambala is the peaceful blue Heaven,
and yes, the peaceful blue Heaven is the Buddha’s pure land.
And the white horse on the pennant, its silver mane erect,
soars and flutters towards the land of worship.
This land of worship is the eternal blue Heaven,
and yes, the eternal blue Heaven is the land of a thousand Buddhas.
And the white horse on the pennant, its black mane erect,
soars and strives towards the land of the holy ones.
This land of the holy ones is Hurmast’s blue Heaven,
and yes, Hurmast’s blue Heaven is the land of saints.

Otgontenger, seated with crossed legs,
gives pleasure to the creatures of the world.
In the blue canopy above the peak the sky flourishes stars.
On Otgontenger, seated like the holy ones with crossed legs,
the children of good fortune grow plentiful.
On the mountain, the Buddha’s incarnation they pray for others.
From Otgontenger, the royal siege the song of dharma resounds.
In the sphere of lapis lazuli green tara appears.
From protector otgontenger the song of dharma resounds.
In the sphere of lapis sky blue white Tara is seen.
To Otgontenger, on the Haan’s lion-throne all make obeisance.
My mind, my gaze rises it find the hawk’s wings.
To Otgontenger, with the eyes of Buddha,
the monks and nuns make prayer.
My weak, my gentle mind rises it find the eagle’s wings.


Vajrapani has supported the ninety-nine Heavens.
Vajrapani has whitened the good Heavens.
Vajrapani has blocked the dark Heavens.
Vajrapani has laid foundations for the blue strata of Heaven.
Vajrapani has brought forth mountains from the mountain peaks.
Vajrapani has leapt over the snowy mountains.
Vajrapani has propped up Hurmast, old and grey.
Vajrapani is beyond revolution above the peak.
Vajrapani is beyond praise above the forehead.
Vajrapani is beyond prayer, above worship.
Vajrapani is beyond meeting, above the fontanelle.
Vajrapani is the four powers if you look to the four directions.
Vajrapani is the eight offering if you look to the eight directions.
Vajrapani is the ten wrathful deities if you look to the ten directions.
Vajrapani is the heart’s from if you look to every direction.
Five-colored juniper has the five colors of offerings.
The lake of eight qualities has the eight paths of the Buddha.
Vajrapani is fierce, whit the dalai Lama’s blessing.
Vajrapani has made the sacrifice of the state which kneels everywhere.
The white mountain is a shelduck, floating in the sphere of Heaven.
The white mountain is a lion, dominating the sun and moon.
The white mountain of the Precious Ones has the merits of the ancestors.
The white mountain is the high stupa, the glorious wheel of the ages.

The shining white mountain of the flurrying blue cosmos,
the blazing white mountain of the foggy blue skies,
the wind’s white mountain blazing in the moonlight,
the white garuda mountain flashing in the snowlight,
the sky’s mountain kin rising with the moon,
and fortune’s mountain kin birthed with the Buddha.

Vajrapani, buddhahood revealed
Vajrapani, supporting the holy ones
Vajrapani, supported by Hurmast
Vajrapani, purified by the rain

Vajrapani, a state of ocean piety
Vajrapani, a box for the wrathful deities
Vajrapani, the silver fontanelle
Vajrapani, the golden ingot of the east

Vajrapani, I want to set his shadow to revolve
Vajrapani, I want to preserve his spirit
Vajrapani, I want to worship his genius
Vajrapani, Sumeru of great good fortune

23 x 00
22 vi 01
Zavkhan – Ulaanbaatar


‘’The old men of meaning arise, leaning on the staff of words’’
Gunten Gegeen
Sin is ever graver sin, when words have split away from meaning’s source.
Words float upon the eyes in the depths of mind.
Words – a snake’s poison, a sharp dart, a taste of honey.
In a single word there dwell a thousand truths, a thousand lies.
The magic of words cajoles people’s minds. It cajoles the local spirits of the land and the water to send down rain, and it calms the tears of men and beasts until they cease.

Though the shadows of yesterday follow from behind,
though it comes to meet the brightness of tomorrow,
today is an orphan, all alone.
Though we wait, it does not come
Though we want it, we do not get it
Today is like a hindrance.
Though we shallow it inside, it comes to an end
Though we weep within, our voice is in mourning
Today is like tears.
Though we knock back strong wine,
Though we thrive in it and amuse ourselves,
Today is like a separation.
Though the candle goes out,
Though the summer sun returns,
Today is like a meeting.
We gather flowers, the clouds move on,
The rain abates and, though thought flees away,
Today continues , uneternally
Today, right mo I bid you
Farewell upon your final path.
Since we`ll meet again tomorrow,
I will hurl stones at the depths of oblivion.

A single grain of sand burns like the sun
Skygrass withering…
A lark sneaks into the dog`s bed
We run along the lizard’s train into the depths of the sand
White up to the raven’s shoulders
Grandmother’s thinking how, if two rainbows appear, the rain will fall again
Sucked the cold, cold snow
Skyless clouds, cloudless skies
January 2004

Girls, I’ll brag about my love for you.
Because I acted babyish and soft when I was in love,
I did not get drunk on strong wine.
Because I am a sot, befuddled, when I’m enamored,
I don’t get sizzled on the best of wines.
The most lovely beauty is the most fragile.
The most valuable dress is first to fade.
The most beautiful of girls is the most exhausted.
The most lovely word’s are lies indeed.
The song of life is melancholy.
The taste of love is bitterness.
In the space twixt song and melancholy,
the path of love is mapped across eternity.
Girl’s I’ll sing of how I’m enamored of you.
The scent of spring flowers is sweet and aromatic,
it leads us into love, it brings us joy.
The drizzling rain of autumn is pure and gentle.
This meeting in the sun is moving and simple.
Girls, I’ll brag about my love for you.

For my dear friend N.Baasanjav
In the morning, with its ancient melodies of wind,
I gaze upon the world from a high mountain peak.
Under the old skygods whom they’ve befriended,
The songbirds sing across archaic distance.

From beyond a thousand ancient years, for sure,
In the pleasure of the stars, the color of emeralds,
At the command of wise men, a rain of verse is falling
On the silver earth, beneath the feet of Yangchen Lhamo.

The peaceful emptiness of the ten directions and the three times
is gentle, like the shelduck’s gentle song.
And oh, upon your ears its poetry sounds,
and birds with golden wings are loosed from my mind.

The goddess Melody smiles with joy
meanwhile, softens like a mortal.
She elegantly dances many ateps.
Across the precious world, the verse begins.

In the morning with its ancient melodies of wind,
I gaze upon the world from a high mountain peak.
Under the old skygods whom they’ve befriended,
the songbirds – you – song out across archaic distance.

Aripple ripple aripple
Love’s autumn meets with us, and
In song song in song
Toy come to us with memory’s recollection

Yearning yearning yearning
I send you love poems flying in on silver leaves, and
over and over and over
we share together our pale memories

joyful joyfully joyful
you come my love to me, and
loving lovingly loving
to you I dedicate our love

the two swans remaining
are song’s autumn,
the gentle love they’ve found
the autumn of recollection

I want to live life as it should be lived.
Even serpents live their own lives through.
They thing very little, they breed and multiply
they recycle the soil, they eat young fry,
they gnaw on thyme leaves and, abandoning these three,
their handbroad form curls away their life, secretly,
I want to live life as it should be lived.
Even the grasses grow their own lives through and wither.
Burnt by winter’s cold, yellowed in the summer sun,
pounded by the rains of autumn
and crushed by many feet, still they struggle skywards and,
though eaten by cows, again they grow, and we are amazed.
For the sake of others,
I want to live life as it should be lived.
A hundred years more is nothing to them.
In every moment, I want to live life as it should be lived,
yes, even for a thousand years.
If I loved a beautiful woman, I would openly call her my wife.
So, as I wander aimlessly through, twenty years,
Lighting candles in the darkness, doing good for men and beasts,
seeking my desires, unhampered by anyone or anything,
I want to live with the from of Heaven, of fire or of wind.
Mother, I’ll immortalize these clear and golden moments in the world.
Eschewing power, revealing what my heart of manhood desires,
Loving my motherland, speaking words for the sake of simple people,
I want to live life as it should be lived.

Shiliin Bogd, where fire is concealed in featherlight rocks
Shiliin Bogd, folding its wings like the garuda as it ages.
Shiliin Bogd, who snares with fire the proud blue Heaven,
Shiliin Bogd, whose voice is of rocks colliding with the stars,
Shiliin Bogd, who melts the hoarfrost cold of winter,
Shiliin Bogd, rising blue beyond the saltmarsh steppe,
Shiliin Bogd, whose fiddle melody softened the swan`s song
Shiliin Bogd, has flowed out, over the horse’s back’s
Shiliin Bogd, of the wind horse’s promise,
Shiliin Bogd, the eternal guard, looking out across the frontier.
Shiliin Bogd, revered and honored by another’s child.
Shiliin Bogd, comes tp life, a princess
washes her feet and face, among the grasses, gazing at the skies.
Shiliin Bogd, the fifteenth day moon placed above its peak.
Shiliin Bogd, a girl of eighteen, happy beneath her skirts.
Shiliin Bogd, and stories from many aeons.
Shiliin Bogd, a new ornament for the whole world.

The color fled
from the cold moon,
and with my hands
I covered my face.
And my hands were cold.
April 2000

I seek for myself in myself
I seek for Buddha in myself
I seek for Heaven in myself
I seek for others in myself

Here and there in my little body,
truth and lies range by side.
Darkly draped in hatred and in grudging jealousy,
I seek for myself.

In my dear body’s honored life,
kindness ,honor, sacrifice and mercy combine.
In the glistering magic of purity and enlightenment,
for the benefit of all, seek for the Buddha in myself.

From my shadowy body’s soul flows
the melody of mantra, the blessing of the sutra.
The whinnying of the sprit’s white horse is heard, and
I seek for Heaven in myself.

From my dewy body’s heart is heard
the life of the revered Buddha.
My soul comes to life, poetry’s servants, and
I seek for others in myself.

The mind in this body of mine
gathers the amazement of the world,
an extraordinary temple.
And, in this extraordinary temple, the cosmic wheel turns.
29 xii 00
The Wheel Group
Leaves fall to Earth, waving to the sky.
Leaves float in the waters of the sea, waving to the stars.

Leaves flutter into life, waving to me.
Leaves fly away for winter, waving to the butterfly.

Leaves turn into colors of the Earth.
Leaves aflame in the color of blood.
Leaves absorb the colors of the sun.
Leaves grow to the shape of heart – a simple life.

Leaves look like the hearts of the dead, hung on every branch.

Leaves look like tears of love and resentment, welling
on every branch before reaching earth.
Leaves look like couples, linked with their hearts on
every branch.

Leaves look like wishes of the sky, hung upon every
branch, everyone a part of human life, eroding
time itself.
Leaves- like Mother Earth.
Leaves’ veins- like rivers.
Leaves’ shadows – like daytime beetles.
Leaves’ rustling – like gossipa.

To tread on fallen leaves is like wading through the rising sun
To pull of growing leaves like making one’s beloved cry
To cry over withered leaves is a lie.
Waiting with a broom for the leaves to fall is the truth.

The palms of our hands look like leaves.
Our lover’s eyes look like leaves.
The shapes of our lips look like leaves.
Leaves that are not yet grown are dreams.

A single leaf endures four seasons – wonderful
A single leaf foretells disasters – fearsome
A single leaf symbolized life – genius
A single leaf bends , begging for mercy – humble
A spring leaf is fate
A summer leaf is happiness
A autumn leaf is bereavement
A winter leaf is sorrow.

A green leaf – it’s you
A withered leaf – it’s me
A love leaf – it’s you
A dry leaf – it’s me
A leaf is life

A leaf is wind in the shape of e heart,
A colored picture of dreams
A shooting star ,
A memory about to be forgotten.

Struggle through the autumn ,
To make me understand the language of the wind.
When we don’t understand each other, the wind and I ,
We mock each other for having no common language.
Somebody seamed to whisper: “My brother, you are deaf !”

I looked around and saw
A last leaf fluttering down, behind a tree.

Your black scarf,
Against the winter’s snow.
Your loving mind
Embraces ancient riches.
Like an elegant, fanshaped butterfly.
Flying into every flame,
This lovely young girl of mine
Is taken in by flattering words.
Do not put on your black scarf,
Like dreams of deep wine .
Get away from loving minds ,
Don’t look sweet in that black wrap!

“ A person before death
Is like a candle in the wind .”
From the Buddha’s teaching
I take the pen I’ve made of time , I write down words.
I embrace time like a woman, I gaze into her face.
I make a monument of time, I place flowers at it’s feet
I bring to life then Buddha’s of time, I make his eyes white with light

Time is like a snowstorm, like a fall of rain ,
Lashing out at me and you, unfriendly as it
Kneels us on the execution block , we’re
Waiting to hear its teaching on death.

A characteristic
Death is a charatenistic of someone’s life.

A paradox
My death is the continuation of my eternity.

A lamp
The death of others – I suck a line of verse in
my mouth , it dissolves into my mind

A though
Death –
Leaves fall and bud, the place where they have fallen turns to yellow.
Tears flow and dry up, and the place where they have dried turns dirty.
My smiling son weeps, and when he weeps , I feel pity.
The snow packs together and melts, and where it melts turns to black .
The buttons rip from a shirt and I feel sorry that they’ve been ripped away.

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