Source/El Origen

Manikhorlo – Tibetan water-spun prayer wheels

Here’s a freestyle poem I wrote in China seven years ago after spending a couple months living with a family in a Tibetan village. Then, while spending another couple months in Colombia a year later, I translated the poem into Spanish. I’m going to repost it today for Paul’s prompt at the Pub asking us about our libations of choice. Come join in! My choice of drink is that which comes directly from the skies.


Word to the people of the world
It’s in the water, as a loving Father
Or a bodhisattva comes to us
From the skies, formed of his designs,
By gravity of grace, here to remind
Unblind, and hydrate all that has dried
Into a reality we face:

That if I speak liberate,
I could find my fate, taken and raped,
Locked up in a pool of lead acetate.

To hell wit dat, I don’t drink polluted words
Or spit what I heard, nah, I drink from the earth
Man it’s about the Mani,* not the money
The OM, not the O-M-G and see,
Not tryin to be funny but this water’s so free
And flowin that I’m down here knowin it’s been Daddy-O spinnin
This Manikhorlo from the beginning and—Er Ree EE-e—
Scratch that, Big D(J),** this Whee-ee-eel has
None nor end but I’s just wond-er-in’ the nature of the
Period, cuz every song has one and
The peak of this mountain, is covered in truth,
That melts~

So I go along with him, to follow his rhythm
Of the air, of the prayer, of this wild hair,

Of this word.

©Amaya Engleking, 2011

*Tibetan for “prayer”

**In Tibet it is illegal to have a picture or even mention the name of the Dalai Lama. One nickname Tibetans have adopted for their banished spiritual leader is the English, “Big D”.

El Origen

La palabra para la gente del mundo

Está en el agua

Como amoroso Papa

O una bodhisattva

Viene a nosotros

Desde los cielos

Hecha de sus diseños

Con la gravedad de la gracia

Para recordar, develar, hidratar

Todo lo que se ha secado

Hasta ser la realidad que enfrentamos:

Si yo hablo de “liberar”

Podria encontrar mi vida

Robada, violada, y encerrada

Con las llaves ya en el fondo del abismo.

Al diablo con eso

Yo no tomo palabras polucionadas

Ni escupo lo que yo he oido

No, yo las tomo del manantial

Sabe a Dios, no a dineros

A “OM” no “O-M-G ¡que escalandosos!”

Y no estoy tratando jugar

Sino que el agua es libre y corriente

Y estoy en la tierra yendo humildemente

Porque Mi Viejo ha girado

Esta gran rueda rezada

La manikorla y la mandala

Desde la primera palabra

La rueda sin principio y sin fin

Pero todavía me maravillo

De la naturaleza del punto

Porque cada canto tiene solo uno

Y la punta cima de esta montaña

Está cubierta de la verdad

Que se derrite

Porque todos la tomemos

Asi que yo fluyo

Sigiendo su ritmo

Derramondo alabanzas, lágrimas

Y palabras


© 2012, Amaya Engleking



  1. Awkward Babble · May 14, 2016

    Love it! Also love that you do an English / Spanish dual post. I used to be fluent in Spanish (Haven’t had opportunity to use it and practice in 3 years now sigh) and I love seeing the difference in the flow of the words between the 2 languages.

    • Gospel Isosceles · May 17, 2016

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, translating was a challenge to try to keep up the hip-hop style flow, but I actually think I like the Spanish version better now. This is one of my only poems I have memorized and really think the spoken version, in both languages, does the poem justice. How did you become fluent in Spanish?

      • Awkward Babble · May 18, 2016

        Well, I studied it for 2 years in High school, but really it was entering a work-force with a lot of Spanish Speakers (at the same time I was studying it) that got me to be bilingual. When a lot of my co-workers heard me trying to stutter out something in Spanish one day, I was not allowed to ever speak English after that hahaha 🙂

  2. McDaniel A. Gyamfi · May 17, 2016

    Beautiful and Soul touching

  3. Saturated In Seattle · May 22, 2016

    I felt the vibrations of each word I read, they resounded greatly in my soul, and my mind has been polluted with imagery that you so eloquently speak and bring to life with each post. I wonder if you have ever considered doing a video blog or thought to include a listening option to your posts? I can only imagine the passion and emotion your voice might bring to your posts. Although, on the flip side, the reader gets to inject their emotions into the words and that too, is a gift. Thinking outloud here! I am completely endeared to your writings. Without a doubt, they are a glimpse into your heart; a heart that is absolutely beautiful; stunning, really!

    • Gospel Isosceles · February 20

      I just revisited this and read your comment. I miss you, Karyn, and hope you’re doing well. God bless you and your family.

  4. El Coleccionista Hipnótico · January 12, 2017

    Your poem is extremely beautiful and your translation is wonderful, almost honed to perfection. I loved it. Siiii, me encanta!

    • Gospel Isosceles · January 16, 2017

      I am grateful to you for reading it. Translation is an awesome endeavor as I can get lost (in a good way) in all the crevices and craters that are created when languages plus poetry collide. It is an art upon which I would love to improve. Thanks again and have fun with your translation projects!

      • El Coleccionista Hipnótico · January 17, 2017

        Thank you for your kind wishes regarding my translation projects. I agree that translation is an awesome endeavor, I can easily get lost too. Actually an art upon which I would love to improve myself.

  5. oglach · February 20

    You’ve lead an interesting life, well expressed in your poetry. I heard Zack de la Rocha’s voice in my head reading this one. Couldn’t help it. 🙂 It’s meant as a compliment.

  6. qbit · February 20

    Wow, that’s an amazing piece of work. Wonderful. “I don’t drink polluted words”

  7. den169 · February 20


  8. LuAnne Holder · February 20

    Lyrical and beautiful. I wish I knew Spanish!

  9. paul scribbles · February 20

    You gotta read this to beats…stunning rhythm and the message is true.

  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) · February 20

    I love the wordplay with the references to the the prayer and the reference to “Big D”… the backstory and the translation such a great addition.

  11. Frank Hubeny · February 20

    I liked the phrase “The OM, not the O-M-G”.

  12. annell4 · February 20

    Delightful, and you are right, what is more sacred than water, pure and free?

  13. kim881 · February 20

    I enjoyed the dual language, Amaya. I don’t speak Spanish but I did study linguistics and am fascinated by similarities and differences. It was interesting to see the different shapes.I especially love the first stanza and the lines:.
    ‘The peak of this mountain, is covered in truth,
    That melts’.

    • Gospel Isosceles · February 20

      I remember sharing this poem with a writer’s group in Chengdu and a tough critic really did not like, “that melts”, thinking truth has to be solid and indestructible, and something to grasp and keep. But how cool is water in its varying physical forms, making itself available in so many ways? I imagine truth (love) more like that: free. Thank you, Kim!

  14. Voyages Vistas Vino · February 20

    The Spanish version was the sweet reward at the end.



  15. Frank J. Tassone · February 20

    A work of ecstasy, Amaya! St. Theresa of Avila, call your office! 🙂

  16. whimsygizmo · February 20


  17. rothpoetry · February 21

    Interesting Poem! I liked the way you wove all the aspects of water and nature as a God given gift into your poem. I even enjoyed reading the Spanish version even though I do not read Spanish. You have had some very interesting experiences!

  18. D. Avery @shiftnshake · February 21

    Water of Life. Word. This poem really flows, and yet is deep like still water.

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