Sunday, December 20, 2009

Door After Door

Ladyslippers in Tennessee

—Ajip Rosidi

In the train
I read poetry: Rendra and Mayakovsky
Yet the words I hear are yours
Above the rhythm of the wheels.
I look outside:
Rice-fields and mountains
And a poem rises
From every bead of sweat
On the brow of the farmer
Throughout his long and lonely day.

I know you know
That life drifts between heaven and earth
Adam was expelled from Paradise
Then searched for Eve.

The poet's fate
Is to knock on door after door
And never find: Restlessly
To surrender to his situation.

In the valley I see your calm face.
From the valley your hand stretches forth.

In the train
I read poetry: submission to emotion
Which through the iron fingers of Time
Determines the path of Fate: stretching out
Into the realm of dreams which I shape to no avail.

I know.
You know.
In poetry
Everything is clear and definite.

(translated from the Indonesian by Harry Aveling)