Featured Poem

lamentation with a yak

he’ll drag a mountain up the pass –
pack crammed with silk and sacks of rice;
along the ridge he’ll never slack,
slip or stumble – forward always,
never back; past the plane wreck, past
a yeti’s spoor in his ladakh
of snow-white mountain stacks: the yak.

his shaggy hair, the shaman’s head...
and on his tongue a smack of milk
so fat he’ll never lack for grass;
hard to watch a draft  beast racked so –
up tracks, through icy cataracts.
pupils as black as lacquer, and
deep within, that feeble glow: ach.

by night the bivouacs, the fires
crackling, fuelled by his sun-baked dung,
smoke carrying across the valley;
by night the arctic chill, the sparkle
of stars, the cracking glaciers, while
his massive skull keeps watch from
the gable of this shack, but ach,
but ach, yak, ach, yak, ach.

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About the translation:
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Jan Wagner
Iain Galbraith
Original language:
2016 Number 2 - One Thousand Suns

About the author

Original poet

Jan Wagner

JAN WAGNER is a poet, essayist and translator of British and American poetry. He has published six volumes of poetry and his S...

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Iain Galbraith


Iain Galbraith

Iain Galbraith, born in Glasgow in 1956, grew up in the west of Scotland and studied Modern Languages and Comparative Literatu...

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