Profile: Rural herder captures life's symphony through poetry-Xinhua

Profile: Rural herder captures life's symphony through poetry

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-04-16 16:13:45

Norpal Gyal walks on a grassland near Qinghai Lake in northwest China's Qinghai Province, March 20, 2024. (Xinhua/Zhang Hongxiang)

XINING, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Norpal Gyal often immerses himself in various joyous scenes associated with Qinghai Lake, such as the flying water birds, rippling blue-green waves and meandering flocks of sheep, which are like pearls scattered on grasslands.

Norpal Gyal, 63, is a herder and poet from northwest China's Qinghai Province. He lives in the province's Yermo Village in Gangca County of Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which is located beside Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland saltwater lake.

Every morning, Norpal Gyal sets out with a book, a tablet computer and a camera bag slung over his shoulder. Following the gentle rhythm of the sheep herd, he makes his way toward a winter pasture not far from home, starting a day of grazing and poetry writing by the lake, dubbed a "cradle of poetry."

"Poetry, like music and painting, is a form of expression," said Norpal Gyal. "When you feel that life is difficult, read poetry. When you get bored with herding, read poetry."

He loved reading books since childhood, especially those on philosophy and history. He said his love for reading and understanding of life blossomed through "Stray Birds," a work by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore.

Later, Norpal Gyal dropped out of school because of illness. "When I stayed at home, a sense of gloom enveloped me. I would often look at the sheep on the grassland in a daze, wanting to say something, but I was the only one on the vast grassland," he recalled. "That's when I thought I would just chronicle the changes of each blade of grass and every dewdrop through poems."

One of his poems reads: "The bright flowers bloom into the sky in the summer, and the seeds in the autumn become full. The white robes sewn in the winter are taken away as gifts by the spring breeze."

Norpal Gyal not only captures his observations of everyday life in his poetry but also documents the changes in his own life and hometown.

In 2010, his family of six moved into a new abode. Although his family no longer depends solely on herding, he holds onto this way of life, as he believes that herding is his source of inspiration for poetry writing.

To date, Norpal Gyal has written more than 200 poems. Last June, his third collection of poems was published by Qinghai Ethnic Publishing House, bringing together his nine years of creation.

According to Gyumey Dorje, vice chairman of the Qinghai writers' association, Norpal Gyal has been breaking through his boundaries in the field of poetry for more than 40 years, articulating his reflections on life with a blend of quiet contemplation and incisive language.

Norpal Gyal is not alone in delving into the realm of poetry in the Qinghai Lake area. Local herders said they love poetry and often chant verses to one another during breaks while grazing.

Last June, the biennial Qinghai Lake Poetry Festival opened in Gangca County, attracting over 80 poets from home and abroad in pursuit of inspiration.

According to Medrup, vice chairman of the Qinghai provincial federation of literary and art circles and chairman of the Qinghai writers' association, in recent years, the rapid development of rural writers in Qinghai has fostered and pooled creative energy for the production of works focused on the theme of rural revitalization.

The works of the poets fully demonstrate the beautiful scenes of harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature in the province, Medrup said.