Homeland

By Muhammad Yamin, 1920

On the border, the Barisan Range,
I gaze out, look down and behold;
A vista of dense jungles and valleys;
And charming rice fields, winding rivers;
And then more, I see also,
The green canopy changes color
With forest crown, palm fronds;
That is the country, my homeland
Sumatra is its name, my beloved birth country.

As far as the eye can see, only forest,
Mountainous and hilly, nestling valleys;
Far in distance, way over there,
Bounded by mountains one by one
There is assuredly a heaven,
Without doubt a second paradise on earth
– A Malay Garden of Eden on top of the world!
That is the country I love,
Sumatra is its name, which I honor.

On the border, the Barisan Range,
Gazing down on beautiful beaches and bays;
A vista of water, endless water,
That is the sea, the Indian ocean.
Visible there are the waves, so many waves
Breaking onto the sand, then spreading out,
They thunder, as if to proclaim:
“Oh Andalas, island of Sumatra,
Make sweet the name, from north to south!”

Bogor, July 1920

Ngarai Sianok

Ngarai Sianok


Homeland (Tanah Air) was first published in Indonesian in the Dutch-language journal Jong Sumatra : organ van den Jong Sumatranen Bond, Batavia, 1920 No. 4. It was republished in Pane, Armijn (ed.), Sandjak-Sandjak Muda Mr. Muhammad Yamin [The Young Poems of Mr. Muhammad Yamin], Firma Rada, Djakarta, 1954, p. 5.

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