Nepali Times
Buddha Sayami


The Nepal-Bhasa poet Buddha Sayami is one of the most poignant chroniclers of our times, expressing the prevalent desire of progressive Nepal to be done with the conservatism of the past, and to establish a new order. Sayami's unafraid voice echoes the sentiments of the masses, calling for change faster than it is being, or has ever been, delivered. This call is clear in his first iconoclastic poem:

Let me tear apart your seal
I am no prince
to take satisfaction at my father's death

Yes I am discontented
by my room filled with smoke
Yes in me lies a rebellion
against our way of staying silent
of pretending not to notice
all that is plain to see

I am my mother's agony of rape
or the sign of her consent to pleasure
My father the cause of my arising
I am not your new edition:
The cover alone has been changed
I cannot carry around your life
the way an official refers in haste
to the above-mentioned

I cannot breathe in your prayer room
with its stench of murder
Your statues of great compassion
stand as obstacles to my footsteps
The value of your belongings
have diminished in my eyes
Father Why do I see parasites
in the medals that decorate your chest?

Father I cannot live the way you do
Letting vultures pounce on your belongings
while you swallow your own saliva
chewing up all your desires
Innumerable roads writhe at my feet today
My throat scratches in the urge to express itself

Father Let me tear apart not you
but the seal of your culture and thinking

This is where I lie captive

The second poem, below, speaks to all those who have ever occupied a podium in Nepal, spewing out (more often than not) hollow words. Sayami addresses himself-a poet and writer-but his judgment applies equally to politicians, academics, experts, and dignitaries, both native and foreign.In asking us all to adopt egolessness and to acknowledge the collective nature of our project, Sayami invokes a Buddhist ethics in this poem.

No need for embarrassment, I'm unmasking my own face (not yours)
(Neither feet nor hands nor even the eyes
The meaning of feet alone-is the end of their movement)

I am perhaps the greatest admirer of my own form
I am perhaps the most ardent devotee of my own statue
Here 'we' are merely horses that 'I' ride
'I'-a pox
and yes, an epidemic in waiting
Any place where "I" am raised becomes putrescent
Ah! How many maggots of "I" and "me"
squirm within our bodies
One individual one island
Each "I" taking pride at its height
When the thick clouds shift the illusions dissipate
from tender glances
There isn't just one mountain here The illusions dissipate
The closest mountain isn't the highest one
The illusions dissipate

Light doesn't comes from mountains
Light is but the call of the age
Oh poet writer important person
oh "I" presiding over the mike on the stage:
what of the welfare of the girls and boys
who are supporting the weight of this stage?
The girls and boys who remain invisible
in order to hold up the stage:
What of their aspiration?

How eager is
the young "I" who lacks the child's experience
to clear a place for one's seat
amid heads bowed down in devotion
How shameless to let loose
the bulls of 'I' and 'me'
on the just-sprouting seeds
of the yield of collective labour

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)