Mongolia

Mongolia Monday- “A Shepherd Boy” By Purevyn Khorloo

Herder boys, Khan Khentii Mountains, August 2011

Herder boys, Khan Khentii Mountains, August 2011

I haven’t posted any Mongolian poetry for awhile and thought that since the Mongols just celebrated their New Year, Tsagaan Sar (White Moon), which also means the turning of winter towards spring, that I would post a poem about a herder boy doing his job despite the snow. Country children are sent out to watch over the goats and sheep at a very young age, even in the winter when the temperatures can be below freezing even during the day. But when the lambs and kids are born, they are often brought into shelter, sometimes right into the ger.

The Shepherd Boy

In a broad and luminous sky
Suddenly a snow-cloud came winging by
Overcasting the sun
And bringing a windy storm

Swathes of scented grass
Were spread over an old herder’s fence
And a tiny shepherd boy left
His many lambs and kids to suck

When the frosty snow-flakes began to fall
From the frosty-white clouds
His blazed twin lambs
And his playful blue kids

Were put into a warm stall
to be fed with delicate grass
The shepherd boy was a good master
Who looked after them through that cold winter

Not one tiny kid was lost
Instead all of them grew up
Pleasing old and young
Playing happily in the pen.

From “Modern Mongolian Poetry”, State Publishing House, Ulaanbaatar, 1989

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