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  • Writer's pictureSalizan Takisvilainan

Go over mountains back to Masisan-Salizan Takisvilainan

〈Go Over Mountains Back To Masisan〉

The ancestors

Entered the New World

From Asang Daingaz

They went over valleys

Across streams and over crest lines

Across plains and over mountain tops

They came

To Masisan, the New World

A shadowy land that the sunlight reached the last

To Masisan, the Ancestral Place

They came

Through the Slender Bamboos

Through the Black Bears that walked by

Through the Ferns and the Steam

From Asang

Started the path of seeking roots

The descendants

If you read the poem from the beginning to the end, you will follow the ancestral path to enter the history of Bunun’s migration:

From “The ancestors, Entered the New World” , we start from the old community of Bunun, Asang Daingaz (the Big Community) around the upstream of Zhuoshui River, the longest river in Taiwan, we hike over mountains and cross streams and crest lines.

Eventually we come to plains and reached Mahudas, a river at the source of Xiuguluan River in Eastern Taiwan.Here there is a beautiful New World where the sunlight shines the last. And thus stayed the grandfather and his family, and called the place Masisan, the Land of the Last Sunlight.

If you read the poem from the end to the beginning, you will step on the path of seeking root to enter the history of Bunun’s migration:

From “The descendants, Started the path of seeking roots”, we leave our Asang (community) seeking for the ancestors’ memories along their old paths.We come to the place called Walami (fern) and the place called Tahun (Steam).We find our ancestors have seen many black bears in Tutumaz (Many Bears) and many beautiful slender bamboos in Isila (Slender Bamboos).

Eventually we come to the New World where the sunlight reaches the last. It is Masisan where our grandfather and his family left……Where are you, Masisan in the old memory of my grandfather?

And thus the descendant of Bunun hid the New World and its location in the poem: If you look at the poem from another direction, you will find the shape of mountains appear in front of you.

And Masisan is right hidden among the mountains of Bunun’s old and new memories.

The mountains and old communities hidden in the poem:〈Go Over Mountains Back To Masisan〉

Can you tell me where your grandfathers came from?

Salizan Takisvilainan Ilistuan, a Bunun poet from Hualian, Taiwan, wrote a poem that recollects the common memories of Bunun to mountains, which also tells us the location of the old community where his grandfather came from……

Walk the Path of the Ancestors (Bunun language)

ludun labungulunin palpiaq tu iniliskinan

Bunun sipungulanin mailan kikinuz

munsan sak nasqudas tu mai-asang

hungku tu qalinga

maszang nasTama tu sintataqu

haiza iti sipun sin ai-iung tu sinqaiban

daqvisan tu singkuzakuza qai

kinuzkinuz muntunuh tu dan is-ukain


kantulun itu madaidaingaz tu liniqaiban

miliskin ludun tu iniliskinan

walk the path of the Ancestors

mountain accumulates memories

people forget the roads once passed

come to the tribe of the ancestor

sounds of the river

like the words of farther

there are footprints of Japanese and barrier defense guards

story of remote past

disappear along with the collapsed roads

I tried

following the path of ancestors

yearning for the memories of the mountains

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