By Muhammad Yamin, 1921
I often laze about, deep in thought,
Watching the sky aglow,
Vaguely visible, joyful,
Sweeping all away, my contemplative thoughts.
What is there to say, what does the future hold?
Weak is my heart, without any strength,
Watching the stars shining gloriously,
Far atop the mountains.
Oh God of all nature,
What is the point of being here,
Worrying about my lot, after night has fallen?
The stars are shining now and it is dark,
Leaving me sitting here like this
Longing for love . . . leave me here to drown in my thoughts.
Based on and adapted from the work of Keith Foulcher (“Perceptions of Modernity and the Sense of the Past: Indonesian Poetry in the 1920s.” Indonesia, no. 23, 1977, pp. 39–58. www.jstor.org/stable/3350884.) First published in Indonesian in the Dutch language journal Jong Sumatra : organ van den Jong Sumatranen Bond, Batavia, June 1921.