General

Observations from the conqueror’s diary


When the British invaded Tibet in 1904, the Tibetan rulers fled,


and waited from a distance for the river to flip blue.


It’s no longer definite what they did with their time. The victors


had been meticulous of their notes in regards to the land they sought


to strip. They noticed, as even though they had been first


to stare, how dryness dulls leaves. The declare moist thing


being water, even there, no tall beauty. Tibet,


the correspondent Perceval Landon wrote, changed into as soon as undiscovered

land or the final nation to be found by the civilized world.1


Noting the evening-sky’s fury spilling, staining, from the put


the navy camped upon a tongue of land, the empire’s scribe


connected it changed into as soon as becoming that the English, devoted servants


of progress had taken up the process. The diary of the conqueror


is clear, the pure white remains referent. Oaks grow

right here, even though in a chastened scheme. A lone fowl within the air,


rock, lichen, feathery stunted juniper. A peculiar set.

The males had been afraid to examine English inventory


rising in 5 pots originate air a condo. Vegetation recorded


and named, the sameness of native, anonymous. Covered in mud


its folk, arriving or leaving, the same. Ladies and males


the same; dusty, formless. Two-legged hills, squatting river


beds, water as silly about its route because the folk. Covered


in beautiful sunshine, mud, statues of scowling Buddhas


stared morosely in every home. An unprofitable selfishness


condemns hermits to caves, they be pleased nothing however prayers,


the scribe wrote. Prayers round necks, prayers crusting lips.


For medication Tibetans ate superstition requiring neither analysis


nor cleanliness: dragon’s blood, powdered lizards, dry yellow


mud, particles and scrapings from a cup, bits of paper with prayers


in pills. Ineffective, Tibetans had been slit in pieces and left for vultures. Loam,


as fertile because the Darling Downs.

The scribe notes that the Tibetan housewife throws a stone higher


than her European counterpart. Despite her grimy face,


despite the newborn in her fingers, despite the turquoise crown,


despite having a note like winter stone. Presumably he changed into as soon as pondering


of a declare girl at home recalled against a cloudless,


blue sky. It changed into as soon as no longer the long-established extra or less battling. The straight traces


of a barren panorama, the excessive friendliness of the mud,


and in most cases, the folk considered in words. The scribe


within the navy reveals how empires write tales. Stripes on hillside


point to respite from the monotony of sameness: the umber of clefts,


evil red willows, right here and there short-tempered maroon swaddling males in robes.


Same search on the opposite side of the river or valley. Right here and there,


crumbling homes, right here and there thistles straddling rocks.


The heaviness of the lungs, right here and there, a gradual. References


to hills, references to maps, references to birds and rocks. Hardship,


all important. All records important for it is miles from within the support of boulders


that hiding Tibetans spring like they’re ideal fair entering


their very private memoir. The day’s work is recorded in counting the dull


and the wounded. A lark. A spider dizzy within the frost.

1 Perceval Langdon. Lhasa: An Account of the Nation and Folks of Central Tibet and of the progress of the mission sent there by the English govt within the year 1903-4. Hurst & Blackett, 1905

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