mount merapi: yogyakarta, java, Indonesia

“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.