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.

29 November 2010

What Really Happened?

My youngest, twenty-odd years later,
found a new Bali — enough of the old
and enough contemporary thrills
to delight him. He liked the bars and clubs
as well as the directness of the villagers;
made friends, goes back sometimes.

Cool cat Adi, at 27, carried on the family business
with his own small hotel, dressed in jeans
instead of the traditional jacket and sarong,
had an Australian girlfriend (live-in)
and rode a motor-bike. It crashed. At 27 Adi died.

The French couple who took us to Tanah Lot
sent a surprised post-card at Christmas
in answer to my long, warm letter. So I learned,
‘Let’s keep in touch’ doesn’t always mean that.

David, my older son, said while still a child,
‘I don’t think I’d like to marry a Balinese girl.
I noticed that they start looking old very quickly.’

We didn’t keep in touch. Our lives changed
as lives do: we moved ... we split up
twelve years after our last trip to Bali.

Long before that, friends came as our guests
to Australia. We didn’t give them the good time
we all desired. Not so rich in our own country
as we looked in theirs, we were working hard.

I remember a hotel maid in Sanur, who asked,
‘How many servants do you have, at home?’
‘None,’ I told her. She murmured politely
but her eyes showed disbelief. ‘Feel my hands,’
I said. My hard palm visibly shocked her.

This happened, that happened, all of it real.
But just for a brief, unforgotten time, I saw
life lived as I’d always dreamed it could be.
That altered, and the country is richer now,
which may be good. But that short glimpse
was enough for me to know I wasn’t mad.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2010: 28
Prompt: a "what really happened" poem.

No comments:

Post a Comment