Happy Birthday to Me!

I don’t often post poems, but today is my birthday (it’s already January 6th in Bali) and I will do as I please!


Kadek let me photograph her as she sprinkled holy water on the small house altar this morning. She moves gracefully, gliding like a beautiful swan. She is the inspiration for my poem.


In my whiteness
I watch gold-skinned women
in the temple garden.
One climbs
the stairs
to apologize…
“I make offerings
so sorry
did not see you.”
It is her task
to prepare
my breakfast.
Today she wears
a teal kebaya
with hot pink sash.
Tiny pearls of perspiration
on her upper lip.
I admire the sarong
woven in traditional
ikat style.
“It is made by machine
not good quality,”
she wants me to know.
“It’s beautiful!” I say,
and it is
because she is wearing it.
The color combinations
would not please
the Western aesthetic.
But this is Bali,
contrived fashion rules
do not apply.
She carries woven trays
mounded with offerings
trailing clouds of incense…
stopping at each altar
to sprinkle holy water
and pray.
Who are you,
beautiful swan?
What is your story?
Your knowledge is ancient
I am awed and humbled
by your mysteries.
Teach me, my sister,
help me understand
your incomprehensible life.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mary santiago
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 01:10:04

    Happy birthday Sherry! What a wonderful way to spend YOUR day. So sad to have missed you. The week after Christmas was still full of people and gatherings. Had a wonderful, lengthy Christmas celebration. I enjoy following your new adventures! Are you there for good?



  2. Lottie Nevin
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 04:15:01

    Happy Birthday January Girl! Hope you have a lovely day 🙂
    I love your poem, you should do more of them x



  3. Sharon Lyon
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 10:10:40

    Happy Birthday Sherry!!! What a marvelous place to celebrate.



  4. healingpilgrim
    Jan 11, 2013 @ 17:47:55

    oh my.. sorry for the delay, didn’t realize it was your birthday! Happy belated Sherry 😉



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