20 November 2010

Puisi Isbedy Stiawan ZS (Bahasa Inggris)

Puisi-puisi di bawah ini diterjemahkan (ditranslet) oleh Pam Allen (Australia)

Sajak-sajak Isbedy Stiawan ZS

Before the Ceremony Ends

YOU leave before

the ceremony ends, leaving

the circumcision flesh

to dry

i’ve been watching you

drink a toast. wink

at the girls, then slip away

to a quiet place

You circle the town

on a motorised becak like a king

imagining a pool

that will soon be ready

and will swim towards your body

to the distant islands

to an unknown port to smoky quite corners

you swim,

swimming towards unfettered time: - are you a poet? –


in your mantra:

- your clutches? –

You are in her thrall, for sure!

Medan May 2007, Lampung June 2007


when you arrive in the vortex

i will be reaching the margins

because your house is enveloped by the river

i build a resting place in the field

in the water’s depths you marry

in the hollows of the forest i return

“don’t stay on dry land,” you tell me

“but i live in the forest,” i reply

“better to return to the river,” is your hope

“i want to go home to Your house,” i say



Further and Further

AND SO you write of my journey

into the still-secret time

before dawn

before dawn


- truly like a moan –

is it you flashing by

leaving the dark behind

forgetting the home

that was once your refuge?

now further and further

you lead me by the hand

deep into the forest

to the farthest estuary?

I am weary

although salt water spreads

between the sea and the river

every autumn

am i ailing?


Floating Market

with Micky Hidayat

rain falls

on the foaming river

and you come by sampan

to take me to the shore

in the floating market

you offer me food

‘so you don’t fall ill

this dawn,’ you say

a parcel of rice

and a piece of chilli fish

fractures the sun

like tousled hair

come to this place

before the dawn

the market will be quiet

when the sun arrives

in the floating market

every dawn

will burn the skin

and the sailboats


beautiful dancers

await you…

Banjarmasin, 1999-2007

Your Hand

your hand

lines of poetry

that i’ve written

and i read too

about the past

and the secret fate

that awaits us

like a mirror

i hold your hand

which is filled


inscrutable pages

your hand

forever in my hand

traversing the streets

my fate

laid bare in your hand

in the form of lines of poetry

then i read my name

wrapped up in your name

/october 2007

Like Yesterday Evening

then your eyes filled with tears

“may i collect your tears

to fill this dry season?”

your tears flow

harder. nothing left

to wipe away

the sadness...

(like yesterday evening

i have to understand

the meaning of your tears:

comprehend every sorrow)

you begin to understand

the meaning of sadness

every time the rain

wells in your eyes

“it’s been too long,

this drought;

the plants are withering

but my heart refuses to dry up!”

may i collect

your tears, dear?


With the Poet, 1

hey poet, tell those stories of love again

stories of how the beach loses touch with the sea

and of how night falls along with the drizzling rain

then of how he seems to be dead

in front of the bottles of arak

as in days gone by

repeat those sentences like a prayer

bewitch the men

who lose their way as they climb

because of you, poet

the beach still glimmers

although the sea no longer kisses it

and the rain like fireworks

will flame in everyone’s heart

by magic

because of the power of your words

With the Poet, 2

hey poet, where are your words

why don’t you come?

I am sick

i need your magic

because without

your magical words

my yearning grows

like a sick man

my body is feverish

all that matters is love and your magic

i can forget all the rest

like a drunk unable to find his way home

i no longer recognise

the first departing kiss

and the coming home embrace

but I’m not a drunk,

i’m one who yearns

who craves love:

the pure one who knows the road home well

although for years he’s been wandering

With the Poet, 3


this is all there ever is –

flirtatious shadows:

on the beach, on a park

bench under a tree,

in the street, on a hill

being crushed by melancholy

and lust

making me ill

- ah, poetry

always a mystery

hey poet, what are you doing?

in a contest or

counting streets

waiting for autumn

the restless sea

and the exhausted beach

but who has kissed you



It’s enough that your smile

approaches, so I can

trap it

and turn it into words

On the beach you ebb

in the money forest you rain

in which hinterland can I

harvest spices?

In your flowing hair

my tears are shed

In the ocean of your eyes

I surf as well

sifting the salty sand of words

: full moon…


in your hands time is crushed

into drops of dew

a sudden flash of light

shining eternally

on my lips time turns to foam

creating a world

beyond dreams

is it you who walks

in the gloom

and yet shines brilliantly

at every turn?

constantly I yearn

always rendered powerless

by words

ah, poet

what can I do

when you cast your spell

i will melunta

- yearning –


last night he fought with the words

who would be the first to understand

and you refused to give in

tightening up each letter

right down to the most fragile ones

because as a piece of advice

even the fairies would surrender

beneath the palm of your sacred –


until you are in agony

- like a damned dog

scratching around in the rubbish bin

until cursed by daylight –

the poet will never leave

- let alone die -

he will live on in his words,

and you will be scattered

throughout his sentences

just as the morning

never cries in pain

despite being jostled by afternoon

the poet will never go home

- let alone disappear -

he will become eternal along with his words,

and you will die from his curse!

With the Poet, 4

every sentence

is a miracle

so cities bend in submission

women surrender

row after row

not feeling their fingers sliced open

i know, poet

that you possess the words

and every time a sentence is uttered

glasses of wine are savoured

in the clarity of words

the path to God

is created

every sentence

is a sacred verse

and so i read

the map of your life



Park of Leaves

there are leaves in the pupils of your eyes

the earth is green this morning

and the rain is falling

i’ll look for the map, you say,

the one that’s disappeared

because of the weather

that comes and goes

but from the pupils of your eyes

the leaves grow

taking me on a journey

into light and trembling

“give me a dawn

full of wonder

so i can transverse the sunrise

like on other mornings.”

i will pick the leaves

from the pupils of your eyes

because from the green

i traverse the dark side

and the fog, like

rainfall, like

crystal on my brow now

becomes your guiding light

like my torch

the smell of dawn stays with me

as well as the leaves that i picked

from the embrace of your eyes

“i want this leaf

to take me to anchor

on the green plain:

- Park of Leaves -

in the pupils of your eyes,

the leaves...


Diggers Waroeng, Pahoman

an afternoon with a light breeze

on the slope of the hill

the sun overhead

my heart your heart in tumult

here, a quiet moment at diggers

i return

untangling the words:

into meaning

ah, i wish time

would stand still

let us meet more foten

i wish

this rendezvous was eternal

like coral

on the sand

like a flower on a leaf...


i’m fading fast

intercepted by the leaves

the sun is falling

time takes a dive

the sun shines

on your cheeks

cheeks as red and black

as pepper

i sit dazed in the chair

diggers gets quieter

i enter your cheeks

now and later


Park of Poetry

: alwy

this night you walk

a long way unlike other nights

your hair, already thin

flies in the air: - - in waves

like the sea. on it

the drunken boats

never reaching the seabed

tonight your thoughts are deep

as deep as your head

that always shines

from the fullness of your brow: - - an ocean


from the din of the quay

this night you expose

the body of jengki poetry

until you reach the truth

“it’s fitting that you are like

this night, on other

days. Your road is white.”


Wanting to Be a Poet

: wayan sunarta

so you let the sea wash over

and carry you off to a million desires:

i want to stay in tanjungkarang

though that means being far from karangasem

or sindhu beach, which first

tore open our story,

it was late at night

the fog settling in

the trees closing and trembling

i with my bottles of drink

that made the beach spin

you with your cigarettes

blurring your vision

‘it’s as if you were in the snow

your body sways, like

a dancer draped with fine cloth, and

the footlights reducing your body

to fragments on the bed.’

i want to stay in tanjungkarang,

you say every time we meet.

‘i want to be

a different poet in tanjungkarang

after i’ve killed off

my desire to be a man of letters,’ you whisper

but, in tanjungkarang or in karangasem

words will always follow you

wherever you hang your hat, poetry

will visit you

such is the wanderer

an adventurer in words

drunk for poetry

Who yearns

who is faithful to time!



i tried to be a chair

to be a table

and you turned

your gaze to the vastness of the sea

and i transformed

my drunkenness into an ocean

in full awareness

the ships are sailing

on the undulating waves

i am my own navigator

inviting you on my journey

visiting the harbours

when night has gone

and dawn arrives

i will etch you in my memory

every syllable

of your name,

and sometime in the future

i will call you

my sweetheart

or nothing at all

(because the poet will

always come and go

with a different story

at every meeting)

then in my mind

i build a ladder

from the eleven syllables

that i pluck from your name

-and the ships sail

towards the harbours-


I am a Wanderer

we no longer simply

look at each other in the mirror

your eyes close,

and i shut the door

when your tongue flickers

my lips speak:

sentences are swallowed

where will you fall asleep tonight?

my darling, i am still lonely

between the lines of mist

our shadows have long been flirting

i part your tousled hair

you scatter the raindrops

on my body

in the cold lobby

i burn up with longing

: embrace you

at a point in time

i make you pregnant

and the result is Poetry

which hypnotises lovers

and cements their flirtatious ways

ah, darling, make me hard

pour words into the soul!

and from your womb

i want poetry to hatch

a row of pages

that transform into flirtatiousness

you release the night

i bury it

my woman, i am a wanderer

running across the savannah

we collapse together

my penis in confusion

the savannah crushed

because of love

we take our pleasure

from beach to bed

you count our kisses

i write a different essay

i blow my soul

onto your body

- - we dance - -

15 January 2007

Legend of a Pair of Lovers

and then in this garden they

transformed into lovers

picking fruit as they made eyes at each other

until they were banished to the forest,

savannah and plain

this happened again and again...

finally they were cursed to be wanderers

for years on end

visiting the gardens

from heaven, returning home to heaven



they look at each other;

“the sky is our umbrella.”

“this land is our house and our grave.”



at the end of time

he whispers

you embrace

“maybe this is not

the heaven we left behind,” he whispers

“and this is not the fruit

that led to our banishment,” you say softly

in a land with no forest and no beaches

the story of a pair of wandering lovers

who know neither home nor grave

is written on reams of paper

to protect you

from the devil who appears as a snake

ever goading you

written on reams of paper

until you

continue your steps

Man curses himself

Woman rues the day

Lampung 2007

I give you my Promise

full moon and the city glow

of beautified telukbetung

i paint memories for you

i tell the story of this fall

a perpetual wanderer

building a place to stay

every time i stop at the city of memories

i leave with a line of poetry

the wanderer arrives

with a pile of memories

in diggers waroeng

where you said telukbetung

over there forever glows

i give you my promise

in every line of poetry


House of Objects

you are delirious

on the rocky barren hill

you wish there was a span of sea

then you would make a toy sailing boat

with a sail made from pages of a book

and an oar from a matchstick

you imagine a prophet

cross-legged on the face of the rock: begging

for rain, until

the cities are submerged, and

you traverse the giant flood

on your paper boat

“god i fear becoming lost

so give me directions to the harbour,” your hands

raised as you rub your face

you are delirious

on the dry fields devoid of trees

you want to create, to choose your words,

to embroider sentences into spreading

lines. you measure

from the cradle to the grave

but no words

leap from your heart

the dry fields devoid of trees

except for rocks branches

of a mad person!

how you dream about a prophet

make a sailing boat in the drought

and write poetry to ward off the conjurer

you will always be lost for words

in the house of objects!


Park of Leaves

there are leaves in the pupils of your eyes

the earth is green this morning

and the rain is falling

i’ll look for the map, you say,

the one that’s disappeared

because of the weather

that comes and goes

but from the pupils of your eyes

the leaves grow

taking me on a journey

into light and trembling

“give me a dawn

full of wonder

so i can transverse the sunrise

like on other mornings.”

i will pick the leaves

from the pupils of your eyes

because from the green

i traverse the dark side

and the fog, like

rainfall, like

crystal on my brow now

becomes your guiding light

like my torch

the smell of dawn stays with me

as well as the leaves that i picked

from the embrace of your eyes

“i want this leaf

to take me to anchor

on the green plain:

- Park of Leaves -

in the pupils of your eyes,

the leaves...



when you fly

i want to be your wings

when you drown

i want to be a lifebuoy

when you disappear

in the air[1] or the sea[2]

i prepare my tears

and my breath

“where has she gone

in which dark corner is she hiding?”

My love...


Your Footsteps Remain in the Sand

every time i visit the beach

it’s as if your footsteps remain

in the sand

along with a row of lips

that i receive as a poem

in sanur in tanah lot

your footsteps merge

then separate

but the pages of the letter

containing our photograph

cling tight

“the sea cannot take

our love away”, you say, and

i smile:

“the sea is our sweetheart too,

always bringing love

although in the end

he sends it back

into his deep dark blue.”

and i don’t want

to let you go, to burn

the bruised photograph

you wrote a poem

on the pages of a letter

and brought to life a row of lips

that i read as a poem

eternal longing

21 January 2007

I Read your Body

but actually

you never leave

although the city

has imprisoned you

because i will always

read your body

even all the marks

that cement in my mind

the first time you greeted me

and i called you

as morning approached;

- - we share the same fate,

cursed by words –

your words write a rainbow

- - we share the same solitude,

stoned by dreams –

my answer touches the rainbow

because i will always

read your body

as morning approaches,

and so i search the city

that has imprisoned

your body;

in pieces


in this valley

we’ve become a pair of rocks

not finished with our sweet talk

actually you

never leave

except to return

as a Princess

21-22 January 2007

On Neruda

neruda[3] is the poet i admire

but you are the poet i love

so don’t shy away from words

because that’s where the poetry is

don’t run away from poetry

because i am inside it

thrilled when you come

bringing me Love

it’s poetry that immortalises it

but in the quiet times

alone in my room

is it poetry i will reach for

while your body

seems set to leave?

i want to embrace you

so that words surrender

and the poetry comes

Love grows too

a flower bud that i place forever

on my heart, longing washing over me

press your body to my words

:is that love? – I long for ir –

(that wound, neruda, that i touch

from the days without poetry

bloodied Love,

a wolf crying

because of longing,

because of love too?

ah i’m speechless,

shivering in a shroud of chaos)

so i wait for your answer

but so many minutes have passed

so many bends in the road

and you remain silent

no message

no kisses either

a fleeting farewell

then i cover everything

that will receive

- - your arrival - -

(are you sound asleep,

am I then sound asleep?)

what’s happened to you

to make you silent?

night and day

like a shy princess

invisible by day

unsmiling by night

what’s happened to you?

perhaps you’ve been wounded

by the bamboo blade: words..

no doubt your nights are starry

but is there a flash of shadow

cloudy and dizzying?

while i’m here at the edge of anyer beach

just enjoying the pounding of the waves

and the sky is so dark

suffusing me with loneliness

the rhythm of the music and the singers of poetry

i dance i dance

(only you, because of you

I am intoxicated

cursed by words)

and you greet this dawn

the poetry never dies

you come with a smile

i too have a smile pasted on my wet lips

there are drops of dew

remnants of my disturbed sleep!

En route Cirebon-Banten, 2007


chooses solitude

rather than stoning

finds a park

watching over a valley

centuries come

a deserted home


Ceremony 48

i still remember

braided hair

an evening visit

the garden still quiet

i danced

welcoming your arrival

and I told you

“i fell in love

when I was still young.”

then the day sped past

like a stallion

so swift

and from its feet

billowed clouds of dust

my eyes your eyes

felt so intense

making me forget

the way there the way back

for years love has been brooding

forgetting the braided hair

the evening visit

my hair your hair

finally turning white

my cheek your cheek

becoming hollow

now in my head

dawns a twilight sun

bathed in light:


do you know

for how long

i have been tending it?

soon it will ripen

stay for a minute then leave

It’s Been Half a Century

from your eyes

i pluck a light

to guide me

to your house

is the sprawling garden

still there

for the flowers

in bloom



it’s been half a century

the garden has changed too

it’s filled with trees

flowers of all colours

: i want to stay

not just look

but pick them again

choose the buds

new stories bring

different hopes

in the garden

it’s been half a century

you plant

i reap…

- the past beckons -

There are no Signposts

there are no signposts

or names of dead-end streets,

so just follow the white line

and the roadside marker. till you get tired,


or breathless

“if you can no longer walk

wait on the footpath

until the day reveals itself

and you remember your address.”

there are no signposts

in the big wide world

be prepared to lose your way!

You Come Back to this Town

you come back to this town

a town filled with temples

and ever-present gods

like witnesses

“how many times

have you sinned today?”

does every beach, temple and

hotel seem to

grab you,

seize you?

The roar of the waves

An explosion

The mantra of the monks

on the sprawling



you sprinkle love

then you and he

frolic in the sand

“what can’t you get

beneath the sun?”

even in an isolated temple

you wouldn’t find a spear!

from kuta to sanur,

tanah lot to sangeh,

or kintamani to sukowati

just god just god

extending his hand

keeping you safe

A Strand of Your Hair

give me a strand of your hair,

now. I will turn it into

a bridge to reach the clouds

after a season of disaster

and a cacophony of love

if you give me that strand

of your hair, and

i can pass beyond the clouds

then tomorrow at dawn

you will see me blossom

in the form of a rose

in a garden

you will come

on butterfly wings

- and make love -

Standing on Bukit Batu[4]

“don’t tell anyone about it

so they will look for

the secret

as far as the wide blue sea,”

you said

after the first creation

then we all went searching

in the leaves of old manuscripts

in the pages of books

in the lines of God’s word

to find out who

is behind all this?

“don’t say it,”

you stressed when

I almost

revealed the secret

then I stood in silence

on bukit batu

my face turned towards the sky

and I said,

“if you exist,

give me a sign!”

and then in a symbolic way,

through a drumming

in the sea in the mountains

in the forest

you sent that sign

“don’t say it,”

you ordered. so then

I wrote the secret

in fields

at random

just to

record your existence…

“don’t tell anyone about it,”

you said. so after that

I looked for you

in all the verses

that fill the pages

of these books. - textbooks,

history books,

and my blood vessels too –

“don’t tell anyone…”

Suffering Forest

but you must forget

all the things

you’ve been through

ignoring the past

does not mean

thinking about going home

after a long easy walk

like a bird in the sky

that forgets its nest

and just pauses to rest

on an electric cable

or a shadeless tree

and then

flies off again

in search of shade

where do you keep

your whole past

when the road home

is getting so dark?

lost amongst the artefacts,

the street names,

the river current,

and, you say,

the forests that used to be there

have written your age

on every strand of hair

covered in moss

- when you’re on a long journey


seems so far away

the village of your childhood

gets starker and starker

making you tremble

it confuses you:

“where am I?”

you whisper

the deep river

the suffering forest

never reach

inside themselves!

The Rain is Talking

i venture into the night

under soaking rain

and you cling

to the shophouse wall

like a statue:

unbending, rigid

time crawls by

too slowly,

as the rain


about halting


effortless love

breathe in the soaking rain

it’s like kissing

time. cold…

when will the rain stop?

i laugh,

the children come

from the traffic lights

hide behind the rain

beneath the dark of night

with shivering bodies


children abandoned

in this country

imagining home

remembering school

so far away

ah, the best thing to do

is huddle together

by the shophouse wall

until the rain subsides

and we move along

to where?

You go down to the Valley

in your veil

as the sun crests the horizon

you go down to the valley

to the beginning of the story

the wine of your lips

makes the leaves flutter

and the river dances

wanting to embrace the rustle of your shoes

you were destined to be an angel

but you live your days alone

in the valley of all love

immortalised in a legend

this valley holds

the memories of all the pilgrims

who have no lover

: sad and alone

you understood

that i am a pilgrim

i will soon be gone

I have remembered

the terrible stories

now left behind or washed away

that people then

want to immortalise

[1] a victim of AdamAir

[2] a victim of KM Senopati

[3] Pablo Neruda

[4] Translator’s note: Bukit Batu Rigis is a mountain in Lampung province, Sumatra