A Sonnet to Vanuatu

This is part of a series called ‘A sonnet to the world’, which I have been working on. You can read about the project here. The idea is to write a 14-line Shakespearean Sonnet for every country I visit (and hopefully and eventually, the whole world). And this one is for Vanuatu.

Through Efate’s open windows, and creaking doors,

They stared at me, like a naked leprechaun who fell from the sky.

Eyes like uncut diamonds, piercing into my pores,

They seemed to ask, “Man blong India, why yu come by?”


At the Kava bar, the blade dangled like a third arm.

As ruthless swings ran a relay, like some vintage reel.
At Mele, they said neither steel nor Kava can do me any harm

Of course, smiles never hurt a soul. And they always do heal.



And like dragonflies in the light, they danced with no duress

In Port Vila. Beyond questions of tomorrow. Beyond fun.

The future holds a key they can’t see, nor can guess.

But they thrive, because today, they are the children of the sun. 

Life moves, pauses, ponders, and purportedly fills
Me with thoughts – yet Vanuatu stays beguiling and still.

Poet’s notes

  1. My exploration of Vanuatu was limited to Efate, the main island and home to Port Vila, the capital. There are many more fascinating islands in Vanuatu which I couldn’t find time (and money) to visit. Like Tanna island, Pentecost island etc.
  2. In Vanuatu, they speak a pidgin form of English called ‘Bislama’, which is fascinating. So, an Indian man would be called ‘Man blong india’ in Bislama.
  3. Kava is a local narcotropic root drink, which is very popular in Vanuatu. In Kava bars around the island, kava roots are cut with long blades, and then crushed to make the kava drink.
  4. Mele is another small village a little outside port vila, which is famous for the mele cascades.

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About Abhi Surendran

Abhi quit his corporate job, and decided to immerse himself in travels, photography, occasional periods of bankruptcy, and copious amounts of insanity. He is currently working on a book of his experiences, and a dream road trip through South Asia. Both in a haphazard fashion. He blogs at Iamnothome and you can also catch him at times on Facebook and twitter.

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