I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

7 November 2010

Looking for Us

There they were at the airport
looking for us over the heads of the crowd,
jumping up and down with big grins
behind the thin rope barrier —
half a dozen of our Balinese friends.

We started jumping and grinning too.
I’d missed that spontaneity, that truth.

Back in Melbourne, whenever we mentioned
our new friends, old friends said,
‘You mean — NATIVE people?’
We gaped at them in turn.
Suddenly we were among strangers.

‘You wouldn’t like it so much,’ said Melbourne,
‘If you went again. It was the novelty.’ No, it wasn’t.

We weren’t searching for ourselves;
we didn’t know we were lost.
But our hair grew thick, our nails grew strong,
our backs became straight and flexible,
and every day we laughed till our stomachs hurt.

Melbourne said, ‘You wouldn’t like it
if you lived as the people do.’ Wrong again.

In the quiet night of the village,
sitting with the women of the family
on Putrha’s veranda, learning to weave
palm leaves for the next day’s offerings,
I was at peace and at home. It was good

to be in my skin, and see my own thread
in the great fabric: tiny, essential.


November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2010: 6
Prompt ‘Looking for ...’ [and fill in the blank].

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