“I am Bali” by Mark Ulyseas
I came to this isle a long time ago bearing the supreme gift of faith, among the many fabulous delights of my world.
I saw you walking topless among the banana fronds gently working the earth in the monsoon drizzle.
I covered your breasts with a kebaya like the morning dew and placed in your hands flowers.
I taught you how to prepare exotic food offerings with ingredients from your gardens.
I helped you build the many beautiful places of worship.
I reminded you every day to never forget the seen and unseen for your every breath and deed added to the aura of the isle.
The synergy between us created the meridian of hope, of love applauded by ceremonies.
We lost each other in the urgency of the crowds massing across the isle. Crowds from far off lands.
You severed yourself from me… my old being – like a well-worn table at a warung that still served the multitude… the new you – like a plastic chair whose colour has faded in the noon day sun.
You didn’t recognise me sitting before you with gnarled fingers in a bowl of rice.
You didn’t recognise me walking down the road bent over by a load of produce from my small farm.
You didn’t hear my chants as I placed a small offering at the foot of a tree. My prayers to spirits drowned out by your raucous pageantry.
We became strangers living in a house once occupied by humbleness towards Nature, respect of the self, a celebration of the atman.
Now, as I stand alone watching the ebb and flow of life on the isle with the intermediaries of the absurd riding a black bull, I have just this to ask in all humility…
‘’Who are you?”
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
© Mark Ulyseas