David Ball – 1 poem


(Dorje Tsering Chenaktsang, commonly known as Jangbu, is a leading Tibetan poet and filmmaker. He was born in 1963. A different version of this text appeared in The Nine-Eyed Agate Poems and Stories, translated by Heather Stoddard, Lexington Books, Lanham MD, 2010.)

The Pheasant and the Chicken

The pheasant had spent many years in the high mountains
A chicken invited him over
So one day the pheasant went down the mountain to the city
He said “Let’s go find something to eat”
The chicken laughed      the chicken said
“The master will feed us on his leftovers”
The pheasant said “Let’s find a place to sleep”
The chicken laughed “The master has already prepared everything”
The pheasant suggested going for a walk
The chicken refused “Impossible
The master would scold us”
The pheasant suggested singing songs
The chicken objected “We have to ask the master’s permission”
The pheasant asked “So what are we going to do?”
The chicken said there was no point thinking
Since the master had already planned everything
The pheasant asked “So where’s the master?”
“He is everywhere      there is no ground on which he has not already tread”
The chicken spoke in a low voice fearfully
The pheasant asked the chicken to show him his master
The chicken discreetly pointed to an eagle in the distance
When you looked carefully you could see blood on its claws
He was eating a chicken leg
Amazed, the pheasant exclaimed “Look at him over there! Look at him!”
He’s eating your fellow creatures!”
The chicken declared in a firm voice
“Oh, those are just rebellious dropouts”
The pheasant asked “What are those countless chicken corpses all around us?”
The chicken pretended to think about it
“They were victims of natural disasters”
The pheasant went back to his snowy mountains     Many years went by then one day
He found himself beak to beak with fleeing chickens
When he asked about his friend the chicken
They answered “The master devoured her”
“Why?” asked the pheasant immediately
They answered “Because she said she had a pheasant friend who lived on the mountain peaks”

David Ball’s poetry chapbooks include New Lulu (2011) and In Cities (2001); his poems have appeared in Action, Yes; Locus SolusThe World and many other journals. His translations include the prizewinning Darkness Moves: An Henri Michaux Anthology, poems by James Sacré, work by Tristan Tzara, Valéry Larbaud, Pablo Picasso and others. Recent translations: Jean Guéhenno, Diary of the Dark Years 1940-1944 and two amazing novels, Lola Lafon’s We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm and Laurent Mauvignier’s The Wound (both with Nicole Ball.)

About gobbet

gobbet is a literary magazine dedicated to publishing the very best experimental poetry and prose. Intellectual perversity and explorations of dark themes are positively encouraged. We are only interested in work that is progressively experimental. We want to see risks, and we want to see them pay. No previously published work. Prose should not be longer than 1000 words. There are always exceptions. Send 3-5 poems. Include a short bio. Send submissions to gobbetmag@hotmail.co.uk Work will be published every 5-10 days. We also intend to publish anthologies of selected work published in gobbet. We will do our best to reply promptly. Most submissions will receive a decision within a month.
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