What did I learn?
Perhaps that we don’t learn —
killing the things we love.
My stepdaughter visited Kuta
just last week. Gentle people,
she remarks, but expensive taxis!
‘No bemos?’ I ask. (Little buses.)
In my day they were everywhere.
She never even heard the word.
‘Wish I’d known you were going,’ I say,
‘I need some new sarongs.
The ones I bought in ‘73
have finally all worn out.’ ‘Oh!’
she says, pleased, ‘I got you one!’
That’s one thing I learned from Bali:
in summer I live in sarongs
(thirty-seven summers now).
I open the paper and read of a man
who fell in love, as I did, with the place,
in 1983 when (a few years late for me)
you could build a home there,
live there — and he did.
It was the spiritual world
and the aesthetics which drew him:
‘the offerings in the homes,
the stonework in the temples ...
being part of community,
and answerable to the gods.’
Never mind the shops and tourism,
he says. The real life of Bali remains
resilient. That I am glad to learn!
Note: Last three verses refer to an article
in The Sydney Morning Herald News Review
Nov. 27-28 2010: A new life in the lap of the gods.
November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2010: 30
Prompt: lessons learned and/or lessons not learned.
Some of these poems are autobiographical, some are entirely fictional, and some are a mixture of both. The intention is art rather than self-expression. I don't allow factual details to get in the way of poetry! (I do seek emotional truth.) They are works in progress, and may be subject to revision without notice. Completed versions appear in my books. Nevertheless copyright applies to all texts found here. Copyright also applies to almost all photos posted here, though a few are licensed under Creative Commons.
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