HADAA SENDOO’S MONGOLIAN BLUE SPOTS
By Roger Nupie, Antwerp
The Mongolian poet and translator Hadaa Sendoo is recognized as one of the most important modern poets of the 21th century. Since 1989, he has published 15 books of poetry. In 2006, he founded the World Poetry Almanac, featuring an international collection of English poems. He has won several awards for poetry, a.o. in Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, USA and the Mongolian Writers’ Union Prize. His poetry has been translated into 30 languages.
But this is a scoop: thanks to this bilingual edition, Mongolian Blue Spots / Mongoolse Blauwe Plekken, his work is published for the first time in Dutch. The initiator is poet and founder of Demer Press, Hannie Rouweler. Formerly she has translated poetry by, a.o., Knut Ødegård (Norway) and Michael Augustin (Germany) and once again she delivers an excellent translation.
Mongolian Blue Spots / Mongoolse Blauwe Plekken
Whether Hadaa Sendoo writes about love and life, suffering and death, peace or beauty, often with an undertone of melancholy (I do not regret I’ve loved much/ I’m just sorry I/ come too early, or too late), his strong bond with nature elements runs like a red thread through his work, offering comfort and hope. His love for horses and Mongolian wild horses is another common theme: From my life/ I don’t expect much/ except seeing wild horses chasing the wind (…) At last/ I do not need gold/ and silks. If possible/ leave me a little forage/ for the night, to feed my horse./ He too is tired
The title poem is a tribute to his country: (…) The blue spot, born with a symbol of life/ Was found in North America/ The Caucasus/ And all of Central Asia/ It’s filled with indigenous colors/And like the American indians/ Reveals a bright-colored pattern (…) Blue spot, primordial color of eternal heaven/ My descendants will be proud of you/ The birthmark/ That was a surprise, as if one meets/ Wild Mongolian horses -// Blue spot, the totem of life// The heart of the steppes…/ It never stops beating
His commitment cannot be misunderstood: I am tired of/ Eyes of discrimination/ Many times I clenched my teeth// Oh my And!/ Why are you ashamed to write in Mongolian/ Many times my heart crumbled
Where will the fragrance of the wind go?/ Where will its retribution come from?// We know nothing of/ the weeping wind/ the wandering wind/ the singing wind
Where the wind goes – just like the time – remains a mystery. It lies secured in Hadaa Sendoo’s heart touching poetry: I’m proud that I have a good poem/ It’s like the horse’s eyes,/ all warmth and deep feeling.// Perhaps this, my last creation,/ I’ll be riding it to travel/ through this whole world.
Mongolian Blue Spots / Mongoolse Blauwe Plekken, Hadaa Sendoo, bilingual English Dutch, translation Hannie Rouweler, Demer Press, The Netherlands, 2018,