to Alex on his 6th Birthday
His name was Lobzang
(and although very young)
was about to see a very BIG adventure through.
How BIG you ask?
well if measured in little persons terms
I’d have to say
A whole lot bigger then his little self
could ever grow too!
Now as Lobzang’s story just goes to show
That’s’ it not about how little you are in the universe
but about what you do
and what you know
and how, the goodness ,that resides deep inside
can change the world
no matter how BIG
no matter how wide
Lobzang lived in a snow capped Himalayan land
where golden barley danced in fields
and wooly beasts lugged
plough’s through stubborn sand
His father- a humble farmer
Sang songs of praise
To his hardworking yaks
And bore the monthly harvest
On the crooked ol crutch
Of his crooked ol back
But how then is this story about Mountain Pirates?
Surely this cannot be?
For Pirates from popular tales
Do not roam the land
Instead set sail upon the sea!
But these Pirate Men were different folk
Descending from the far northern reaches of the East
Cruel men with cruel hearts
The temperament of wounded beasts
Who once upon a distant time
Drank deep from Kali’s black spring of eternal life
Enabling them to live forever
While plunging the world
into eternal hardship and strife
Who -for many hundreds of years
Robbed and looted the seven high seas
Filled deep their bottomless pockets
with Saphire, Diamonds and Rubees
And when the Colonial Ports and Empires had begun to wear thin
Still the pirates persisted-refusing to give in!
‘Just because we’ve robbed all there is to rob
(stated the Emperor Pirate to his crew)
Doesn’t mean us pirates are done then with the job!
The Emperor leaned forward
To let his men in, he spread his wide (wind worn) lips
And flashed a gold toothed grin
‘I know of a new treasure -beyond our wildest dreams’
….where oh great Emperor?-begged the crew
‘At the source ,my good men , of the Himalayan streams
For there lies in that forsaken mountain land
A treasure so sacred
A treasure so grand
A statue of the Golden Buddha
More priceless then any precious stone
More sought after -Then the Queens’ jewel infested crown
The Rajas Peacock throne!
And the Pirates jaws hung low
Soo low that they scraped the very earth
and deep in their bellies the hunger did grow
To plunder this mountain land of all its worth!
However their limited brains could not quite understand
How Pirates of the sea could as easily turn too pirates of the land?
‘What oh Emperor..
Is a pirate without his parrot?
A pirate without his ship?
This Mountain Pirate Profile
Is one we simply do not fit!’
So the Emperor lugged his men to the Himalayan Mountains
And clicked his jeweled fingers
To which swarming like a cloud of flies
Appeared a flock of black crows
Swooping and tumbling
Through the sliver clouded skies
Then perched a black crow
On the shoulder of that enquiring Pirate
Who bit his foolish tongue
and grew very suddenly sheepish and quiet
The Emperor spoke again…………..
‘The people that inhabit this land
Are Holy men, thankfully for us, they’re not very bright!
We can expect little resistance in our robbing of their Buddha
For these fools know not how to fight!
‘Er…And a ship? …oh wise Emperor’
A brave Pirate protested again from the back
‘Where do we intend to store our treasures sir?
‘What then will be our pirate’s mode of attack?
Good question, beamed the Emperor
‘On these rivers a boat of wood will not suffice
So from this glacier -I command ye men to carve me galleon of ice!
Again the nervous pirate probed………
‘Now Oh Wise Emperor Captain-
A Galleon of ice, would indeed be a truly Remarkable feat!
but how will it be made to stand the relentless midday heat?
And with that the Emperor uncorked a potion
…from what looked like a bottle of Kashmiri Rum
Out swept an ominous black cloud
that collected itself into the shape of a dragon
and swiftly swallowed the sun
and from that cloud Dragons nostrils
Swept a bitter cold freeze
Causing the barley to droop in the meadows
and warm Autumn colours to shiver and wilt from all the trees
and from then on
The Pirates worked with picks
For many long miserable days from the imposing blue Glacier
they chip… chip… chipped away
From out the valley,
not a single sound could be heard
no not a defiant chirping cricket
or sweetly singing bird
Instead a deep and loathsome moan
as the great ‘Ice Galleon’ lurched
from out its cave
across the hills of snow and stone
And the Pirates sung
And chugged on rum
‘ Oh the cruel deeds left to do’
‘Oh the cruel deeds not yet done’
Then blowing horns -
To sound their attack
They swept through the villages
Riding on the backs of fiery eyed yaks
with sharpened horns
and eyes that flickered flame’s of crimson red
‘Hand over ye gold idols-they bellowed or all be left for dead’
Left for our crows to peck out yer eyes
Then throw yer skinny corpses to fuel our raging fires’
And they pointed to Lobzang
Who stuttered on his words
And tripped upon his tongue
‘Where then be this Buddha of old
This Buddha of gold
It resides in a near by monastery?
So we pirates, have been told
And Lobzung had little choice
But to find his frightened voice
And much to the entire villages dismay
He pointed a trembling finger
and showed the pirates the way
And the pirates
In a furious frenzy swept through that monastery
Cutlasses glinting in ceremonial candle light
The Holy Lamas fell back
Alarmed at the terrible sight
‘ahhhhhh, this here token will suit us just fine!’
and with that
the pirates snatched the golden Buddah
from out it’s perfumed shrine
And once they had bundled it onto the Galleon
The pirates seemed to vanish into thin air
leaving the Lamas and the village folk
Doubled over in defeat
Crumpled in despair
standing on a hilltop
silent and alone
stood the elderly lama
face- weathered with worry
solemn as the mountain stone
“Let us make sword’s , like they have’ said Lobzang
Fight them for our Buddha, tooth and nail
Ill fight them old lama, I will
I’ll fight them without fail!’
And the Lama looked at the determined boy
and gently shook his head
War is a monster my child
It’s belly never satisfied
It’s hunger never fed
Then he turned wincing into the setting sun
We must practice patience, persistence child
To ensure the safe return of our holiest one
For you must remember Lobzang
That there is still a lot left for you to learn
That what is given is taken
Then given in return
For just as the winter
Returns each and every year
So too must the summer
to melt that frozen tear
Will bind us together
Just as individual threads entwine to create a rope
We may have lost our ‘Holy one’ my child
but not yet our precious hope.
You have been chosen to carry this message
For it is our communal prayer
Deliver it to each and every monastery in these hills
Carry it now
With haste and care
We will all join together on the night of the swollen moon
Hurry little lobzung for that time approaches soon!
Armed with bread crusts and a flask
And on the back of his wonky donkey
Lobzang set about his task
And when his mission
was over and done
So rose that swollen moon
and withered the fiery sun
All at one the villages and surrounding monasteries
Chanted a united OHHHMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
Tinkered on Tin bells
and banged their triumphant drum
And deep in each of their hearts
They did truly hope and yearn
For peace again in their mountain land
For their ‘Buddha’s’ safe return
Hidden deep beneath the frosty decks
Of the Galleon
The captive Buddha
began to radiate and glow
So warm and bright
That the beams cut through all the ice
and melted all the snow.
Now the pirates were so startled
By this radiant, beautiful light
that they puzzled for hours
over… how it possible.. for day
to so interfere with night?
And while lost in this curious muddle
They did not notice
Their mighty Ice Galleon
…..melt and drip
to form a mighty puddle!
The Pirate Emperor cried
-flee! -men -flee!
But the sudden gush of Icy water
Caught them by surprise
And swept them all to sea
The next morning- in the village
How brightly that new sun shone
For when Lobzam woke
He must have thought it to be all a dream!
for the Pirates and their ship were gone
and the river shimmered with infinite riches
Including the holy Buddha
(who sat smug and smiling)
On the bed of that golden stream.