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.

30 November 2010

Next Steps

Keep very quiet. Tell no-one
what you experienced in Semarang
on your last visit to Bali.

(Yes, Semarang’s in Java. We went there
from Bali, to visit people we met; took in
Jogja and Borobudur on the way.)

Wrestle alone with the strange
things that happened. Try to find rational
explanations. Fail.

Driving across the island, south to north,
going up into the hills, we passed a hut.
A young woman came to her door
and stared out. Our eyes locked
a long moment. Behind her I saw
two small naked boys on a dirt floor.

At once it seemed I knew all about them,
what their lives were. It seemed I had lived
that childhood, become that mother.

Experience increasingly severe headaches.
Conceal them from others. Fear
you are going mad; fight for control.

Approaching Semarang, I felt
a dull headache begin and worsen
until I was dumb with pain.

When we came into the city, I knew
before we got there, what was around each bend,
in detail as if familiar. Shocked, said nothing.

Suddenly that stopped. The remaining streets
were unknown. Our host mentioned later 

an old and a new city. We’d driven through 
old Semarang to arrive at his home in the new.

After three months of silent battle, notice
you are still functioning in your life,
and are no danger to yourself or others.

Looking across Semarang harbour,
I saw two grey warships — visible, solid, and yet
I knew they would disappear if I shifted focus,
and that no-one else could see them there.

‘Did the war come to Semarang?’
I asked very casually. He shrugged.
‘The war came everywhere.’  Only
at home, when I did my research, I found

a picture of warships in that harbour —
not positioned exactly as I'd seen,
but I recognised the type of ship.
(Research said, probably Australian.)

Give up. If you are indeed building
a delusional structure in your head — well
it seems harmless; and it 's not going away.

Decide: If you can’t find a rational
explanation, accept the irrational.


The head pain stopped on the instant.
Peace engulfed me.  Surely
it was all fated. I became
aware of God.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2010: 29
Prompt: a ‘next steps’ poem.

No comments:

Post a Comment