Poor cousin to Bali yet richly raw
rice fielded grains
spread on plastic sheets
sun-warmed from pure skies
bagged brown gold borne crosswise
on motorbikes to market.
Bricked and mortared buildings spring
from rich larval soils
yet many lie abandoned
burnt out pillars
overtaken by tropical tendrils.
Materialism struggles to gain a foothold on
Rinjani’s bold green skirts
yet bensin stalls stand sentinel
of its cloying presence by roadside shacks.
Long abandoned beaches line the shores
where ceaseless waves batter
to their hearts’ content
the flotsam of a thousand silent lives
strewn along the tide mark.
Why so many shoes?
The patterned subdivision of ancient family plots
marked by decaying red brick walls and
tired looking coconuts grazed beneath
by skinny cows all tethered
like their owners to the plot.
Prayer calls ring out
a noise as background as the
singing surf and regular as tides
the only things to mark the march of time
except the ceaseless rise and fall of sun.
What hope here for the sun-browned boy
offering his bracelets to the
half-clad Europeans far from home?
Two worlds meet briefly for material exchange
but neither leaves the richer.
Yet images of God abound
in kindly faces and attentive service
the promise that the Gospel permeate the earth
means even Lombok’s shores shall hear the news.