Friday, June 5, 2015

"Hunt For Empathy" by Tsewang Lhamo

གཞས་མ། ཚེ་དབང་ལྷ་མོ། 
Singer: Tsewang Lhamo
གཞས། བརྩེ་དུང་གི་རྔོན་པ། 
Song: "Hunt For Empathy"


Sharp, blinking, sidelong glances
These are the arrows slipping from the bow;
Though the body is swift to avoid them
An arrow has struck its heart


Raw feelings without artifice
Such is the deer startled from its meadow;
Though its gallop is swift
It has fallen into the chasm of yearning


The arrow was not poison
Yet, it left an open wound on the heart;
Even if the deer has not been injured
It has cried out in pain


Oh hunter carrying your bow and arrow!
If you have even the slightest compassion
For the deer with nowhere to go
Please let it take three steps
Please let it take three steps

(Repeated from the beginning)

Note: Though the song is explicitly about a hunter and a deer, it seems to me that it might be a song of love and heartbreak, with the hunter representing a man who has seduced a woman yet is apparently causing her some dramatic heartache. There are lots of reference to the heart in this song, as well as mentions of "feelings" and "yearning" and some indications that the arrows here might be merely metaphorical. Even the word བརྩེ་དུང་ (tsey dung) in the title, which I have translated as "empathy", is often understood as "love" in the romantic sense--I've translated it as empathy because it seems to go with the general sense of the song, especially considering the call for compassion in the last verse. 

As a final note, I am not sure what the significance of "three steps" is in the final verse or what it may be referring to; one dictionary entry tells me it is a metaphor for "the heavens, earth, and the nether region", but that makes little sense here. It seems unusual to specify the number of steps as three without there being a reason, but it just adds to the mystique of the song here which might be appropriate after all.

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