Poems from Ochre Tones



Even before we begin, the sound of wind

From the old temple of Ulun Danu quivers

On the tips of our fingers and in our toes.

The dancer, Ni K’tut Reneng, knows it takes

Ten sacred years to learn one gesture

Of the wind’s caress on the skin of water.


Tonight, in the shadows of our dance,

I tell my soul t grow quiet,

Become lake, reflect unbroken moon.

On the deepest part of the lake,

A solitary fisher paddles his oars.

At the shore, a woman in red sarong

Sings: their longing walks on water.


At this watershed of words

Silence is our breath and base for music.

When the dark tones of your voice

Lay the gravel, my song will grow limbs,

Weave the oldest story with nimble feet,

Without letting the listening ones know

We know the spellbinding name

Of the one we worship.