salin guro, mimpi indah

i don’t seem to be able to sleep. it seems that this day cant just be over without my recalling of the things that make my day, make me happy, make an important turn in my life.

first is a good bye. but it’s not a sad one as i now have three amazingly smart and kind Fillipinos whose interest is the same as mine, literature, Cora, Lily and Isabela, who are all lecturers at the University of the Philippines, who were totally strangers to me two days back. We met yesterday, the first day of a workshop/seminar on founding a literary translation body. They wanted to get some batik and souvenirs, but Thamrin City is usually closed at the same time as the offices. So I took them to a mall, playing a role of an LO, which I missed so much, but this time voluntarily. Then they treated me for dinner, and even for es teler dessert, though only at their hotel.

and they are leaving tomorrow, plane would take off around 1.30, so they won’t attend tomorrow’s seminar even the morning session. but at least i know whom to contact when i get to Manila hehehe. and after seeing Filippinio’s interest in studying Indonesia, especially the literature, I was thinking of sending Lily some Acehnese writer’s short stories that I have done for the Translation course in JNU… hmm,,

second is the hope that my translation work, of JM Coetzee’s novel, would be able to reach the hands of the author. This is made probable by Prof. Nicholas, who is one of the speakers in the seminar. He teaches creative writing (so fun!!) and… guess what… in addition to Writing and Society Research Centre, University of Western Sydney, he’s also in the, I better quote here, « J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice, University of Adelaide »!!!

When I was still in India, I really wished I could give a copy to my professors, especially the ones teaching Translation Studies and Postcolonial Literature. But since I only have a copy, which I luckily found in a major bookstore after I got back from India (it was published in 2005), I can only give it to one person, without shipping cost preferably. So we’ll see what happens. I know Coetzee mustn’t speak Indonesian, but I’m somewhat embarrassed. It was my first attempt of (published) translation, right after I graduated from Unpad.

third… maybe chronologically, rather than by degree… I got a reply from a publisher that my poem is accepted for their journal!!! Oh my God, I hardly write, let alone poems. And I got rejected a few times before. I only sent my three to five English poems to international journals, both print and online. And… my shortest poem is the one accepted.

They first told me that they only have 35 pages for the poems of the 24th edition, and mine would be placed on page 36 if there were such page hahaha… So the editor decided he would include it in the next edition, the 25th. I will receive a hard copy of it, since I won’t be able to travel to attend the launching. FYI, one copy costs 10 pounds….

So that’s it. I’m about to crash. See you.

Zaim Rofiqi’s poem

MALIN KUNDANG

 

Recognizing the desert, without meet, without landing

— the only possible non-stop flight

Not having

Chairil Anwar

Do you feel safe?

Or feel there’s no way out?

 

In the hometown

everything neat is indeed still stretched

gracefully

like it used to:

The road’s bends that he has known closely

the alleys that fail to scare him

the faces that do not sow threats

indeed, sometimes, hesitation flashes

when the earth, faces, homes

as if luring:

“Please stay, Sir.

Don’t you want tranquility?”

Yet he already adventured

and the worry he brought from the next harbor

had dispersed, hot

like smallpox

he wanted to keep going

as the worsening hot smallpox

has made him understand:

“This village is not the way back

I’ve traded my dreams

thrown everything that is neat

and flew – perhaps alone – stopping by a land by land

for something I myself don’t understand.”

 

2004


 

ICARUS 

I.

Let’s do it, it’s time

to reshape everything,

also our faces.

It’s time

to flap our wings,

slowly soar

high, and higher

here, high in the air

I know

the labyrinth is just an old story

scattered chaos

no longer

unnerve us

now

I know

with these wings

the sky is revealed

with these wings

the tempest doesn’t terrify us

with these wings

even the azure will shut

 

II.

No, no need to ask

where to?

In the sky

with these twin wings

the wings of dream and hope

I know

I’m not a kite

there won’t be a thread anymore

that drags us

to the left, to the right

with these twin wings

the horizon is no more frightening

with these twin wings

even Olympia is conquered

 

III.

No, Father, you don’t need to come back

crawling, creeping

in the old labyrinth

here, up above the sky

there will be a palace

here

we will build a palace

grander

than Olympia’s ridge

now, let me fly swiftly

high, higher

although I know

these wings

are not as strong as the sun

now, let me be

higher

although I know

this dream

will be ablaze

burned

by the sun

2005


 

KALI 

I found you in every face of a shudra

affectionate, your eyes didn’t say a word

warm, still same

–in my body a tomb lies.

wildly black. flashy frangipanis, scattered.

an unknown tomb. twin headstones.

pleasures radiates. the pleasures of bushes. eternal—

(she lost the east

for after the dawn

you kept on meditating)

I touched you in every hug of a kshatriya

your nipples, your breasts, your body hair, your sighs, your twists,

your navel, your embrace, your lips, your bites,

your testicles, your moan, your sweats, your odor

and thus I love you

–in my body there is a hermit temple. a garden lies.

The scent of grass spreading around.

And there, you can tame your wild thoughts—

(you left her
crawling, sobbing
groping the south
when in the peak of the day,
you still meditate, ignoring the streets)

I saw you in every lick of a vaisya
your eyes, eclipses
burned the wild lusts
your voices, earthquakes
muffled the passions of Eva

–in my body stands a hut of exile.

encircles, the rural breeze. scent radiates

from two splitting rivers—

(tired.

the light tells of dusk

yet she has not found the north)

I felt you in every kiss of a Brahmin

your praising chant pumps my bloodstream

but your silence shrivels my nipples

–in my body there is a purgatory. burns the pious’ sins.

the original sins—

(she felt the west

when everything came close

to the dusk

the robe’s color of the being)

1999


WANG FO 

I.

Between the ripe orange and drunken people’s faces

Ling, there are something we manage to seize:

the colors, the tastes, the forms that feel fresh in the lids,

that make us refuse to lose

although outside, the storm enrages.

So

through canvas,

Ling, through shellac and brush

together we soar and voyage, fly or float

catching vapors in the face of a stall guest in anguish

painting dusk and hills

dragonflies, flowers, or flock of birds

let’s go, Ling, let’s wade

while your age, body, and mind are still buds

before the sunrise turns sunset and sunset shuts

while birds and dragonflies are still hanging

and darkness comes whispering death

let’s profuse and kiss life

as now, Ling, we finally understand

among the colors of noon, the cherries, and the face of the jealous Emperor

something is in fact eternal

like the bright sun, the parrot’s cheer and the lily’s splendor

in the painting we manage to enter

II.

No, no, this isn’t hell,

Ling, just an interval

a moment when the canvas and the sketch, the brush and Chinese ink

must fight against King’s eyes

to dissolve or immortalize, to eliminate or exalt the colors

dusk and women, flowers or ocean’s waves.

And we know, Ling, thus, the King is furious:

“The world only pile of stain!

Thrown into vacuum room

by a mad painter.”

So, Ling, before everything is gone

before the King’s fury burns all the colors

let’s go, we both spread the ark

gone swallowed by colors, sketches and forms

in the canvas that is now perfect

2002

 

 

Translated by Indah Lestari

Merantau – Travel!

Go to foreign land ….
Knowledgeable and civilized people will not stay quiet in their hometown
Leave your land and go away to stranger’s land
Go, you’ll find a replacement from relatives and friends
Make efforts, the fruits of life taste sweet after a weary struggle.

I saw the water spoiled for being still
If it flows it becomes clear, otherwise, it is muddy and puddling

A lion, if it does not leave his nest, will not be able to prey
Arrows, if does not leave the arc, will not hit the target

If the sun stays in its orbit and does not move
Surely men will be tired of it and reluctantly look at it

Gold ores are like ordinary soil before being excavated from the mine
Aloes wood is like ordinary wood, when it is in the woods.

That is my translation of Al-Shafi’i’s poem, the Indonesian version is below…

Merantaulah….
Orang berilmu dan beradab tidak akan diam di kampung halaman
Tinggalkan negerimu dan merantaulah ke negeri orang
Merantaulah, kau akan dapatkan pengganti dari kerabat dan kawan
Berlelah-lelahlah, manisnya hidup terasa setelah lelah berjuang.

Aku melihat air menjadi rusak karena diam tertahan
Jika mengalir menjadi jernih, jika tidak, kan keruh menggenang

Singa jika tak tinggalkan sarang tak akan dapat mangsa
Anak panah jika tidak tinggalkan busur tak akan kena sasaran

Jika matahari di orbitnya tidak bergerak dan terus diam
Tentu manusia bosan padanya dan enggan memandang

Bijih emas bagaikan tanah biasa sebelum digali dari tambang
Kayu gaharu tak ubahnya seperti kayu biasa jika di dalam hutan.

But then I found a free translation from Google:

There is no peace of mind for the one with intellect and sophistication in remaining stationary – so leave homelands and and go to foreign fields,

Travel!
You will find a replacement for what you have left.
Crash out! The sweetness of life is in crashing out,

I have seen that standing water stagnates, if it flows it nourishes,
and if it doesn’t run, it doesn’t nourish,

If the lion doesn’t leave his den he can’t hunt,
and if the arrow doesn’t leave the bow it won’t strike,

If the sun stood still in its course then people,
people would become bored,

Gold dust is as the earth thrown in its places,
and oud is a type of firewood in its ground

So?