Approach Me Not

Approach Me Not

Palmo is a prominent Tibetan women writer whose works have been published widely in literary magazines including Drangchar (Sbrang.char), Tibetan Art and Literature (Bod.kyi rtsom.rig sgyu.rtsal) and others. In 2006, she published an anthology of poems by twenty-three Tibetan women writers living inside and outside Tibet called Sholung (Bszho.lung), named for the ornamental metal double-hook worn by nomad women on their belts to carry milk buckets. She wrote in Sholung that “writing poetry has nothing to do with the number of books that you have read or the amount of scriptural knowledge that you have. Instead, like a sprinkle of water carried by floating ocean waves bouncing off of rocks, it is the spontaneous feelings that come out from the encounter of external matter and internal thoughts.”

Chakmo Tso (a leading Tibetan woman writer who was Palmo’s childhood friend, university classmate and writing companion) notes that “Palmo’s writings are strongly related to her steady and calm personality, and she always tries to touch the deepest level of society. In recent years, her poems explicitly encourage young Tibetan women writers to produce more literary works.” Palmo is a professor at the Northwest Nationalities University in Lanzhou.

Approach Me Not


Approach me not.
I am not nectar, I am not a desire.
I am not the shining pearl,
I am not the sweet tasting lips.

Approach me not.
I am not a spring blossom, I am not your property.
I am not the ever-blessed youth,
I am not the sweet intoxicating love.

Approach me not.
I am charcoal, I am poisoned steam.
I am the mask which has lost its warmth,
I am the empty house with tears overflowing.

Approach me not.
I am epilepsy, I am crime.
I am the cold stone with no care,
I am the executioner without any kindness.

Approach me not.
I am a thorn, I am deception.
I am the life wrapped in suffering,
I am the injuring sword.

Approach me not.
I am the shackle, I am the barb-wire.
I am the caged bird,
I am the kite who has lost her direction.
Never approach me.

I belong to no one.

Translated by Dhondup Tashi Rekjong and Tenzin Dickyi