A thousand hands – the Kecak dance


A thousand hands, a thousand feet
Thrust forward their shadows
Grasping for the obscurity of the sky
Stamping out the torporous sleep of ancient powerful things
Victorious king,
Monkey warriors a million strong.

A thousand hands, a thousand feet
Impale the shaking earth and make it firm
In the pale light of neon lamps
The darkness too is swallowed up
By the dance of torchlight
Shadows of a thousand fingers
And the thunder of the sound CAK.

A thousand hands, a thousand feet
Plant firm the swaying earth
The night grows old at the peak of the temple gate
The sky too opens out
In the eyes of every monkey
An ancient enmity burns
Alengka, your fire will be extinguished
And darkness will swallow
The flames of the traitor Rahwana

A thousand hands, a thousand feet
Rama, his sorrow half submerged
Stumbles along in painful longing
Haunted by remembered images of Sita
Who knows now where she is
Faithful Laksmana
Sounds out a hero’s lament
For Rama, elder brother
For Sita, sister-in-law.

A thousand hands, a thousand feet
Thunderous stumping of the monkey host
Embers of passion flare up, burning for revenge
Rahwana has set foot at the gateway of darkness
And the curse of the gods can no longer be washed away
He will live eternally now among the damned.

Nyoman Tusthi Edy, “Cak dance at midnight”, 1989

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s