While I listened to the Barong Boy marching Band clanging and clopping their way down the road a couple of days ago (I couldn’t post to my blog until today) – a tradition that takes place for days on end, between the Balinese Hindu holidays of Galungan and Kuningan; and despite the few strands of red and green glitter wrapped around bamboo poles here and there, in restaurants and warungs, it would have been entirely possible to forget that Christmas was hitting full-tilt around the world.
So, in the (delayed) quasi-tradition of singing carols, songs and poems during this holiday season, I borrowed a standard onto which I overlaid this Balinese-inspired ditty. Nakal sekali?!
Twas the night before Natal, when all through Ubud
All the creatures were stirring, just as they should
The offerings were placed on the shrines with great care,
In hopes that the good Barong spirit soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Shiva danced in their heads.
And Nenek in her sarong, and I with my kris,
Had just settled our brains for a hot summer’s eve nap.
When out on the road there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the split gate I flew like a flash,
Tore off bamboo shutters, they fell down with a crash.
The moon on the breast of Agung’s western slope
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects in taupe.
When, what to my wondering eyes all agog,
There I saw a bike, and eight Kintamani dogs.
With a little old sopir, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Pak Nick.
More rapid than lightning his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now Wayan! Now, Nyoman! Now, K’tut and Ayu!
On Ngurah! On Rai! On Kadek and Putu!
To the top of the bale! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!
.. and to all, Selamat Malam!