Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sumatra


SUMATRA
Point of reference, datum
without bearing on our flight plan,
a wayward oriental tropic sunset –
all Conrad and copper wire on a trash
heap’s flame, then untimely salmon,
flamingo-feathered cirrus over
the Indian Ocean flared, dimmed
as local cumulus broke cover,
Sumatra was below.

One evening at Tom Crawford’s
seriously a Wellington romantic
declared, "I should hate to think
I could lose my capacity
for innocence," pushing thirty more
years away with both hands.
I thought My God! meaning
How may one not
who could only peer
at that unlikely jade or emerald
tract of jungle, marvelling
"Down there are tigers,"
and felt
improvidently comforted.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

6 comments:

Samosas for One said...

Hi Yoli: I saw your comment on Maddie's blog. What is making you sad this season?

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

A gorgeous passage of writing, dripping with sensory imagery and allusion. I tend to forget what a master Conrad was...I'm a lighthearted person, and I tend to leave the difficult stories behind once I've read them.

Elizabeth said...

Sumatra. It calls to mind coffee for me. And also... I've been there. My parents lived in Indonesia for several years and I visited them one Xmas.

Ok, where are you getting your cool headers? So far the typing wench is my fav, for obvious reasons. I covet her.

A Cuban In London said...

Beautiful poem, as usual.

Elizabeth (above), just used one of my favourite words in the English language: covet.

Greetings from London.

High Desert Diva said...

Such writing.

robinbird said...

you always give me beauty to ponder yoli. the snake of light that is a river, the glow of mist above the red earth, a castle hovering in the clouds. sigh....