haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2005, vol 1 no 1

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Graham Nunn, AU

Bali Sunrise

i

Sunlight falls in slivers through the thatched walls of my villa. I can hear the early morning procession of motorbikes, a rasping voice that is never lost. The hibiscus outside my window is a rush of wings. The tiny bodies of these nameless birds, wide-awake and restless. I had planned to sleep late this morning, but I find it impossible. This land, so wild, that I am forced to admire its beauty.

pulling back blinds
sun has touched
the rice paddy

ii

This morning I wake at 4 a.m. The strangeness of the hotel room hits like a bad dream. I slap at the crazy sting the mosquitoes have left on ankles and neck. Watch the shadows move through the old blinds. Darkness slowly comes apart, lifts away at the horizon, which leads me to think of my grandmother and the constellation of stars she is guarding. I light a stick of incense and whisper a prayer.

alone
a gecko joins
the conversation

iii

Another humid morning and I am up with the roosters, shaving the bristles from my tired face. The animal I have only heard has eaten the banana from my fruit bowl and left its black skin for the ants. The sky is hazy, depthless. Standing before the mirror I muse on my time here. I am a solitary Adam, in a foreign paradise.

far from home
a stranger cries
in the stillness

iv

In the village market, they are laying out offerings for the gods. The closeness here makes me agitated. The streets a turbulent mix of artists, shopkeepers, drivers and dogs. Everything here rests on the edge of the tourist dollar. The bargaining is fierce and musical. They offer morning price and still we want less. The daily game of financial cat and mouse unfolds, until a price is reached. The vitality, the spiritual strength of these people makes me weep as they smile and wish us good luck. In so many ways I have never felt so hollow.

counting our money
wind carries
the sound of laughter

v

Today has been gathering momentum, all of my thoughts converging into one - the poems, the people, the uninhibited beauty. Last night at the farewell party, the sky kept its stars hidden and words failed me. I tried to tell them everything, to speak of real beauty, but when asked, the silence was inevitable.

This morning, I stare through the mosquito net and watch the sunrise over the village. Images and textures, the taste and scent of this land rush through me in waves. I breathe it in. This experience means nothing in words.

a rooster crows -
last morning in Bali

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