Blue Mosque

Request

By Muhammad Yamin, 1921

Listening to the waves close to me
Pounding to the left and to the right
Chanting their charity-filled song
Awakened is longing for the place of my birth.

To my side over in the East
Shrouded in cloud-billowed skies
Appears the island full of marvels
That assuredly is the country of my birth.

Wherever the sea may pound and crash
And arrive seething on the sand
That is where my soul, first was cast forth.

Wherever the waves may spraying writhe
Wetting the coast of the isle of the Barisan range
That is the place please, lay me to rest.

On the Indian ocean, June 1921

padang

Padang city, West Sumatra


Request (Permintaan) was first published in Indonesian in the Dutch-language journal Jong Sumatra : organ van den Jong Sumatranen Bond, Batavia, June 1921. 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. 6.

Homeland

By Muhammad Yamin, 1920

maninjau-view

On the barrier, the Barisan range,
I gaze down, looking down I behold;
Spread out dense jungles and valleys;
And charming rice fields, winding rivers;
And then more, I also behold,
The green sky exchanging colors
With forest crown, palm leafed jungles;
That is the land, my homeland
Sumatra its name, my beloved birth country.

As far as the eye can see, nothing but forests,
Mountains and hills, bestrewn with valleys;
Far in the distance, over there,
Hemmed in by mountains one by one
There is none other than a heaven,
Not a second perfect earth
– But Eden of the Malays above the world!
That is the country which I love,
Sumatra its name, which I honor.

On the barrier, the Barisan range,
Looking down on beautiful beaches and bays;
Stretching water, endless water,
None other the ocean, the Indian ocean.
There visible the waves, multitudes of waves
Breaking onto the sands, then spreading out,
They thunder, as if proclaiming:
“Oh Andalas, isle 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.

HASSAN BASRY: Pahlawan Nasional dari Kalsel

The Face of a Hero

By Kosim Pohan, December 1945

The sudden thought passes, the intangible transforms,
In the mind, and makes the faces take form,
Going deep into the feelings, to the gates of the soul,
The spirit of the heroes of ancient times.

In ages past, among the islands, in mother earth,
Spilling blood flowed flooding the earth,
Mighty warriors inflicted vengeance,
Tears of suffering the Motherland shed.

Remembering you, oh noble fighter,
Clearly visible is your service, sir,
Like a torch illuminating young hearts
Lighting the path of the great struggle.

Hero, You Poet and Creator,
True warrior, creator of signs,
Your spirit burns bearing destruction,
Shines flickering into the depths of the heart.

You mighty hero, handsome dashing,
Embodiment of the present struggle,
Your soul will live eternal throughout the ages,
Reigning forever in the throne of our hearts.


Published in the second issue of the revolution-era nationalist bimonthly journal Pantja Raja I:2, 1 December 1945, p. 34. The picture is of Hassan Basry.

pantja-raja

Suffering

By Marlupi (Utari Kusno), January 1943

The soul is crying sliced by sadness,
Dejected downcast overwhelmed by sorrow
The soul is weeping sobbing in grief
The body is weak racked by suffering.

Like the sound of howling wind,
Thick clouds rolling churning,
Lightning rumbling canon roaring,
All of nature seems to be grieving.

There are no friends to relieve the pain,
There is no sound of guests dropping in,
Alone the soul feels like it is drowning in flood water,
Is there no sound of people approaching?

The only sound heard is howling wind,
In the heavens above cold stretching;
Is there no one to extend a hand?
Yes, God whispering be patient.

Your own soul your friend of one heart,
God alone your only shelter,
So you believe
Always

That all your suffering
Is as nothing against the suffering of this world;
That all suffering slowly
Will vanish swept away by time.


Jassin, H. B.  Gema tanah air, prosa dan puisi 1942-1948 / H.B. Yassin  Dinas Penerbitan Balai Pustaka Djakarta  1959, p. 20, attributing first publication to the revolution-era nationalist bimonthly journal Pantja Raja I:14, 1 June 1946.

pantja-raja

Pantja Raja magazine No. 9 Vol. II 15 March 1947

Sunset

Early Morning

By Muhammad Yamin, 1921

Fiery sunset still glows wondrously,
Saddening the majestic stars;
Becomes dim then the light is gone,
Rising and setting since time immemorial.

Dawn in the east arrives fiercely,
Spreading jewels all over the world;
Radiant bright as rare pearls,
Variety of colors, sparkling.

Slowly and gloriously,
Gradually rises the sun;
Illuminating the earth with beauty.

All the flowers spread their perfume,
The blooms are open, a splendorous array;
Covered in dew, beading the branches.


First published in Indonesian in the Dutch language journal Jong Sumatra : organ van den Jong Sumatranen Bond, Batavia, June 1921 via Pujangga Baru II/9, March 1935. Republished in Jassin, H. B.  Pujangga baru : prosa dan puisi / dikumpulkan dengan disertai kata pengantar oleh H.B. Jassin  [Pujangga Baru : prose and poetry / collected and accompanied by an introduction by H.B. Jassin] Haji Masagung, Jakarta,  1987, p. 327.


Image care of Wanderlust East Java, Private Travel Agency for Nature Tourism in East Java Indonesia.

Sumatra

Love

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.

Graffiti

7

By Emha Ainun Nadjib

My God

I entrust myself

to the heart

I make a life ready

for the vibration

where courageous thoughts

are solely of the ultimate gift

which is the frailest

of all prayers

My God

in this my small cell

on this aging mat

as I behold the wooden shelves

books

buildings of an overcast civilization

having done battle in the deceiving sun

I lay down my thoughts

I lift up my heart

and wash

in Your hands.


Emha Ainun Nadjib.  99 untuk Tuhanku [99 For My God],  Pustaka Bandung  1983