Friday, June 21, 2013

Solstice: The Season Turns

—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch

—W. S. Rendra (Indonesian)

The moon's bed, the bride's bed:
An azure blue sky
Held up by ancient hands;
A cricket flutters about,
Shrilling a love song to the net.

The moon's bed, the bride's bed,
A chinese junk with a thousand sails
Crossing the sea of sleep;
Stars fall one by one,
Yawning with sweet visions.

The moon's bed, the bride's bed:
A kingdom of ghosts and spirits,
Drunk with the flavour of incense;
Dreams scatter, one by one,
Cracked by brittle truth.

(trans. by Burton Raffel)


—W.S. Rendra

In the pale moonlight
He carries his bride
Up that hill,
Both of them naked,
Bringing nothing but themselves.

So in all beginnings
The world is bare.
Empty, free of lies,
Dark with silence—

A silence that sinks
Into the depths of time.
Then comes light,
Man and animals.
So in all beginnings
Everything is bare,
Empty, open.

They're both young,
Both have come a long way.
Passing through dawns bright with illusion,
Skies filled with hope,
Rivers lined with comfort,
They have come to the afternoon's warmth,
Both of them dripping with sweat—

And standing on a barren coral reef.
So evening comes,
Bringing dreams
And a bed
Lined with gleaming coral necklaces.

They raise their heads:
Millions of stars in the sky.
This is their inheritance,
Stars and more stars,
More than could ever blink and go out.

In the pale moonlight
He carries his bride
Up that hill.
Both of them naked:
The world's first face.

(trans. by Burton Raffel)

—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—W.S. Rendra

You're the woman I love best and forget fastest, my love,
Because in this evil silence weeds grew over my miserable heart,
Tall weeds, with long torturing roots.

They're dark weeds, soft, painful.
She's dark and swaying
And she blossoms in sin.
My heart's still yours
But weeds grow in my breast.

(trans. by Burton Raffel)


—Ajip Rosidi (Indonesian)

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
Everthing is clear and definite.

(trans. by Harry Aveling)


Today's LittleNip:

—Queen Lili'u-o-ka-lani (1939-1917, Hawaiian)

Above, above
all birds in air

below, below
all earth's flowers

inland, inland
all forest trees

seaward, seaward
all ocean fish

sing out and say
again the refrain

Behold this lovely world

(trans. by Mary Kawena Pukui and Alfons L. Korn)



—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock
[Photos may be enlarged by
clicking on them once]