Thursday, 7 January 2021

Yogyakarta - Albert Hagenaars

The line from the volcano’s summit
past the sultan’s palace to the sea’s abyss
spans the sacred space of the culture
in which until the end you are embedded.
It preserves the balance between 
the heavenly bodies and the daily life of prayer
and service, of birth, dying and grief.
May nothing disrupt this imposed harmony
or neighbours will view us with darkened gaze,
fire will rise up from Merapi, blood
descend from the world of ancestors.
So I am taught, ignorant as I still am,
and I am all ears and see charred fields
where the rice now rustles in a gentle breeze, 
Hear envy in a friendly voice, and bow
my head because I have so little own control.

Mt. Merapi Volcano, Indonesia
Mt. Merapi Volcano, Indonesia
(source: Indonesia Travel)
Albert Hagenaars (born 1955) The Netherlands
Translated by Catherine East
Source: Poetry Atlas

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