“Here,” he says, “this is where you may see
Gunung Merapi” The Burning Mountain.
The volcano looms in steam and sulphurous mist.
The sun rainbows drifting clouds.
We watch from noon till dusk, listening
to three other languages we cannot speak.
We eat our rice cakes, give most away,
and never see the mountain’s face.
Yet when the sun falls from the sky,
flames within the hidden peak throw gold
and black on shifting smoke, crimson
shadows walk through silver clouds—
a shadow-puppet play of gods
busy building mountains with molten stone
and the fire at the heart of the world.