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Page 6

The Cicak

the soft sighing of the wind

whispers rhythm to the trees

a symphony nocturnal

is the music of the breeze

eerie figures dancing

shadows on the ceiling

fantastic shapes in indigo

creeping crawling looming large

figments of wild imaginings

these monsters of the night.

shards of shattered silence

fill the violet void

heartbeats thunder

from the twilight dawn of slumber

chichaaaak chaaak

exploding forth

a cacophony of noise

shadows on the ceiling

quickly reaching for the light

a solitary gecko

barks a loud expletive warning


is this pretty little dragon

the fearsome author of my fright


Bali’s tropical jungles are full of palms and creepers of all varieties festooned with beautiful orchids and magnificent butterflies. The western part of the island is more arid with scrubby bush and many hills. The Balinese believe this area is their land of origin, a place called Pulaki; mystical home of the Invisible Ones (punished because they angered the gods). This wilderness is the habitat of wild pig, jungle fowl and crocodiles. Also found here are giant lizards, pangolin, mousedeer, wild cattle, deer, civet and leopard cats.

Animals that can be readily observed by the casual onlooker in Bali are fowls (which the Balinese keep for food). A fighting cock is a man’s most prized possession; even so, when it is killed it is taken home and eaten. Ducks are reared and taken into the rice fields daily (they are also a part of the diet). Every compound has a pig; they are sold for income and eaten at all of the banquets and feasts. Mention must be made of the beautiful, dainty Balinese cow that seems more akin to a deer than a member of the bovine family.

Mangy mongrel dogs seem to be everywhere. They scavenge for food in the villages and can be a nuisance at times. There are many varieties of lizards in Bali and every home has a resident cicak (gecko) who dispatches unwary insects that hover near the light of an evening. The Balinese are not affectionate to animals but are careful to show them due respect devoid of any sentimentality. They keep a variety of caged birds as pets. Sometimes cats are kept as a domestic animal but they are not petted.

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