Sajak: ‘Was That You?’ (Translation), ‘To A Nameless Tree’ (Translation), ‘London’, ‘Cinta Farhad Kepada Shirin’ dan ‘Penyanyi Berkeley’

Was That You? (Translation)

Was that you
who ruffled my nocturnal tranquillity
a mischievous infant’s countenance, an unfortunate old lady
a sisterly civility, a hopeful voice
groans of pain from the poorer precincts
manifesting more than ‘social stratification’ in my research?

Was that you
who made me an ever-estranged listener
often lost in the outsider’s beats & rhythms
when my artistes & speakers could only borrow
when the zapin, ghazal, joget, keroncong & dondang sayang*
had become foreign recordings & no longer symbols of identity?

Was that you
who taught me the aesthetics in the songket*
a nafiri’s blowing, gamelan, & performance of wayang kulit*
of folklore, the keraton’s history, sufis & warriors
Syair Perahu, old pantuns, proverbs, gurindam & seloka*
only to be entombed in the museum & national archive?

Was that you
who instructed me allegiance to an abiding love
while yours continually shifted & defied interpretation
& while relaxing by the river bank
you are so joyous & felt not the least alarmed
your port harboured not the perahu, bahtera & kapal layar?*

Was that you
who made me too sensitive amidst various conditions
loving you, but simultaneously, ever critical
& at times enveloping me in loneliness, like this singer
who could only evoke a peculiar melancholy
when listening & crooning to ‘Ratapan Kamarulzaman’?*

*Sajak yang ditulis dalam bahasa Melayu ini boleh dibaca dalam blog ini dalam entri 2 Februari 2015.

Written in Malay (Engkaukah Itu?) by: Rasiah Halil
Written: 10 June 1979
Lorong L, Telok Kurau Road, Singapore
Translated By: Bohari Jaon with the assistance of Rasiah Halil.

*Zapin, ghazal, joget, keroncong & dondang sayang: traditional Malay/Nusantara music
*Songket: traditional Malay/Nusantara textile
*Nafiri, gamelan, wayang kulit: traditional Malay/Nusantara musical instruments and performance
*Syair Perahu: traditional poetry by Hamzah Fansuri from Aceh
*Pantuns, gurindam, seloka: traditional Malay/Nusantara poetry
*Perahu, bahtera & kapal layar: terms for Malay boat/ship
*Ratapan Kamarulzaman – traditional melancholic Malay song sung by Sharifah Aini.

To A Nameless Tree (Translation)

This rain, yet how sturdily you stood,
gathering the drops on the leaves & branches,
forbearingly blanketed by the cold, yet able to discern
beauty, in the clouds’ incessant downpour,
because you believe,
your might is embedded in the roots,
& the soil’s compactness is a source of support
amidst the storm.

Not once did you ask,
why these clouds turned gloomy,
or the sunshine suddenly stabbed,
your body, not yet luxuriant & stout though it be,
the insects too had nested, the birds
sought protection, chirping merrily, you
shared all these in silence,
or is this your way of expressing, you had
heard the message charioted by the evening breeze,
whispering:
‘be resolute’.

For years you’ve piled in here,
outside the Central Library, so serenely
soothing our eyes toiling in study,
ever accepting the atmosphere’s waste, recycling it to
refreshing oxygen, & proclaiming, without words,
about perseverance.

Oh nameless tree
do teach me
the meaning of endurance
where from nature you’ve learnt.

*Sajak yang ditulis dalam bahasa Melayu ini boleh dibaca dalam blog ini dalam entri pada 21 Januari 2015.

Written in Malay (Kepada Pohon Tak Bernama) by: Rasiah Halil
Written: 27t November 1982
Kent Ridge, National University of Singapore/NUS
Translated by: Bohari Jaon.

London

Di Southall atau Soho
masyarakat Asiamu bergerak
seolah melawan kedinginan
penjajahan yang diterbalikkan
& harga diri yang kian menunjang.

Kau adalah Bandar kosmopolitan
membenarkan segala:
pandangan kiri, kanan, tidak berpihak,
& kebebasanmu yang seakan mutlak
membenarkan kerencaman:
golongan punk
pensyarah di Hyde Park
penghibur di Underground
semua bernafas penerimaan
kulit & pendapat berlainan.

Namun sesekali kau sedikit sangsi
melihat orang berwarna yang pintar
kerana matahari empayarmu belum seluruhnya terbenam
di ufuk Asia & Afrika
& bekas anak jajah sukar kauanggap tuan.

Keistimewaanmu, London,
ialah memberi kebebasab
antara peluang & pilihan
membina hidup berperibadi
atau bergelandangan.

Ditulis: 10 Mei – 10 Jun 1990
London, United Kingdom
Tulisan: Rasiah Halil.

London

At Southall or Soho
your Asian communities advance
as if against the chill
of a reversed colonization
& a newly buttressed dignity.

You are a cosmopolitan city
permitting everything
leftist, rightist, neutralist,
& your near-absolute liberty
allows diversity:
the punks
speakers of Hyde Park
buskers of the Underground
All breathe acceptance
the varying colours & opinions.

Yet sometimes you are a little suspicious
encountering an intelligent coloured
because your empire’s sun has not set
on the Afro-Asia horizon
& the ex-colonized is difficult to be accepted as lord.

Your uniqueness, London,
is granting freedom
between opportunity & choice
building a dignified life
or one of idleness.

Written in Malay (London) by: Rasiah Halil
Written: 10 May – 10 June 1990
London, United Kingdom
Translated by: Bohari Jaon with the assistance of Rasiah Halil.

Cinta Farhad Kepada Shirin

Aku bukan Khusrau yang kaucinta
Raja Parsi yang berjanji & meracuni jiwa
tapi kucintai kau sepenuh raga
Permaisuri Armenia, Shirin jelita,
ilhamku ketika lara.

Ini susu kambing yang dialirkan
dari puncak gunung ke Mada’in
penyembuh jiwamu, kata para tabib,
kubina saluran itu segagah tenaga
merentasi ranjau, bukit, gunung,
kerana kau perlu hidup
lebih daripada segala.

Betapa kau kucinta
tanpa kunanti balasan, pengertian,
cukuplah bagiku mencintaimu
tanpa pameran, syarat,
kerana cinta itu hadiah terbesar
di pahatan masa.

Kerabu pusaka yang kauberi
tanda terima kasih, bersahabat,
kan kusimpan hingga ke akhir hayat
tapi Khusrau cemburu
melihat kasih berbunga di hatimu
lalu disuruhku membuat terowong
menembusi Gunung Bistun
sebagai syarat
membenarkan aku mengahwinimu.

Kupahati gunung ini, Shirin,
saban ketika, segigih tenaga,
& kulukisi wajahmu
di Gunung Bistun
di sisi terowong yang kucipta
kerana cintaku lebih perkasa
daripada batu-bata.

Setelah akhirnya terowong siap
Farhad diracuni berita daripada Khusrau:
‘Shirin telah tiada’
& Farhad hilang semangat
mati di sisi lukisan Shirinnya.

Betapa dalam sebuah cinta
betapa berpusar ujiannya
seorang Farhad, Shirin, Khusrau,
digambari Nizami*
lebih 700 tahun di Parsi
& masih menjaringi kita.

*Nizami – penyair Parsi yang lahir pada 1141 – 1209 Masihi dan melahirkan beberapa karya besar termasuk ‘Khosrau/Khusrau dan Shirin’.

Ditulis: 13 Oktober 1995
Mayflower, Iowa, Amerika Syarikat
Tulisan: Rasiah Halil.

Penyanyi Berkeley

Dalam sejuk & sibuk
tengah hari di Berkeley
& musim rontok
lima mahasiswa berdendang
lagu-lagu country & rakyat
begitu riang
ceria
bersemangat
kerana harapan berlegar bebas
kehidupan tiada batas
& zaman muda indah
meski di Ivy League, California.

Ditulis: 30 Oktober 1995
Berkeley, California, Amerika Syarikat
Tulisan: Rasiah Halil.

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2 thoughts on “Sajak: ‘Was That You?’ (Translation), ‘To A Nameless Tree’ (Translation), ‘London’, ‘Cinta Farhad Kepada Shirin’ dan ‘Penyanyi Berkeley’

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