The sand is white here, glittering, almost too bright in the sun.
I bend to take a handful, let the grains drift from my fingers.
Tiny microcosms in free-fall, they hang suspended in the languid air.
Across the island, on the windy side, the sea slides with relentless force
through the deep-water channel between the caved rock and shore.
Here they built a landing stage for boats to come
bringing stores and supplies.
There were buildings and roads and an airstrip,
but it's all gone now.
The sea has claimed its own--
huge chunks of concrete tumble amongst fallen trees
uprooted by the devouring current.
A partly ruined wall, some ironwork and masonry,
forgotten remnants—that's all that remains.
Back at Kuto Beach, by the water's edge,
the sand glistens with a thousand faces,
I see no footprints from the past,
and the feathered waves call no names.
There's no one left on this, their bali hai.
From the fringing palms come women's voices,
wafting on the wind in perfect harmony.
The gentle island tongue is strange,
but the melody strangely familiar, evocative
of something that happened here, in another time.
ki yi yippy yippy yay yippy yay
ki yi yippy yippy yay
Some imprints endure.
J Bandidt © December, 2012