shiva in besakih

    "who knows what could have shifted in us" - Dinah T. Roma

    "Shiva is responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction and in the positive sense of the shedding of old habits."

    Had we come intending to be shriven:
    by the view, by thoughts of our own Nyepi -
    one silent day clearing space for beginnings;
    or once every lifetime, the procession
    barefoot, from mountain to sea
    readying the soul for transformation?

    Had we known the lessons turn again
    to leaving, we might have named precisely
    which constellations summoned us, calculated
    prostrations and prayers, enumerated sins,
    marked the place of each stone brushed aside
    as we ascended. Carried offerings, not cameras.

    I want to be able to report the sky
    at once unknotted into cloud,
    or that a light drizzle commenced
    just as we came to rest in the shade
    of scented clove trees, forever altered.

    But all I remember is walking clean
    ahead of our shadows in lingering afternoon,
    the fragrance of incense masked by cigarettes,
    rice grains peeling off our foreheads like husks,
    an ordinary thirst encroaching. Yet isn't it right

    to answer orisons with stillness;
    to place surrender into empty palms?
    So wise the blessing to let things be.
    Who knows what has shifted in us,
    listening to the bell of something opened?

25 October 2004   19:50 hours
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