One Day In Fiji 
(January ‘86)
William Stapleton

A kiss beneath a banyan tree

            In Suva’s mid-town park, I see

            a you, a me and children three

            no inkling of the we we’d be.


We scarce could take it in, the change

            that lay beyond the mountain range

            where jets would land and language strange

            would our whole matter re-arrange.


It rained that day we walked along

            great drops came down, a welcome song

            carefree above the trees so strong

            and old and staid where they belong.


A memory is what remains

            of trees and kiss and park and rains

            and yet it speaks of life so free

            of you and me and children three

                        one day beneath a banyan tree.

There is a memory, it used to be a photograph, of you and me in the midst of a kiss, standing under a huge banyan tree.  It was taken surreptitiously by our Karin, when we stood, all wet from a tropical storm, on a Saturday afternoon, trying to get back to the home of Mrs. Guionabaravi, our host.  It was an adventure for the five of us that day, walking and playing with the little weeds that curled up in a ball when touched.  We ate dumplings and what we thought would be donuts, but weren't.  We finally rode the bus back up the hill to where we were staying, and collapsed into a long, afternoon nap.  Later that evening we learned how to cut a coconut, and also that we didn't much like the taste of coconut milk by itself.  That photograph accompanied us on our journey to Japan, where it made children laugh and adults blush.  Our children never hesitated to point it out to perfect strangers.  I wrote this poem hoping to preserve the memory, since that photograph has now faded and gone away, lost somewhere in the shuffle of our life.  Never forget that day as it stood, a marker between the life that was and what was yet to come.  We are so different now than we were then, and yet better.

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One Day In Fiji by William Stapleton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License<