A Sonnet to Timor Leste (East Timor)

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 Timor Leste (East Timor).

Beyond the banana pancake trail, a new nation I found.

Formed by wave after wave of the ever-migrating mortal.

Veddas, Melanesians, Malays and Portuguese ran aground.

Each of them built new hegemony, and the previous one fell.


Despite the occupations and the massacre, Timor survived.

And with time, the red of blood gave way to the ocean’s blue.

Although, in Dili’s short runway, the Sriwijaya aircraft dived.

I too survived to tell the tale of a country that no one at home knew.


In the capital, the history was dark and the beaches were white.

Yet the Pope and the Christ both showered blessings in abundance.

Outside Dili, the sun-kissed beaches of Maubara were a blissful sight.

And in the highlands, Aileu and Dare were discoveries quite intense.


To all the explorers of the world, a resurgent East Timor awaits you.

For you to see this last frontier, as the resurgent Timor starts life anew.

Poet’s notes

  1. Timor Leste (East Timor) is one of the newest and least visited countries of the world. Despite being just outside Indonesia, this country has not yet been added to the banana pancake trail of South East Asia, as getting there is still quite difficult.
  2. The island of Timor has been inhabited by Veddas and Melanesians, before the Malays started moving there. Eventually, it was colonized by the Portuguese, and after the Portuguese left, once again by Indonesia.
  3. The airport in the capital of Dili has one of the smallest runways I have seen for an international airport, and the flight connections were very limited. Dili is not just home to beautiful beaches and memorials of the Indonesian massacre, but is also home to 2 giant statues: one of the pope, and another of Jesus Christ.
  4. Beyond Dili, there is much more explore in Timor Leste. Like the beaches and forts of Liquica and Maubara, and the cold highlands of Aileu.

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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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