11 January, 2008

Twilight at a Little Harbor

Chairil Anwar:

Twilight at a Little Harbor

To Sri Ajati

This time around no-one is searching for love
among the sheds yonder and shacks of old,
neither in tales nor upon the masts and ropes.
Small ships idle onshore snort with hopes
that they can drag themselves back seaward.

Drizzles have hastened the dark; yet still heard
are flaps of an eagle's wings caressing melancholy.
The day's rustles by now have swum hurriedly
away, seduced by another harbor somewhere.

Then, a standstill; the soil and water bereft of wave;
there's nothing else. I am trudging along the cape,
ill at ease yearning to reach its tip, to bid farewell
to this fourth beach, and submit to a final sob as well.

(This is a draft translation of Chairil Anwar's Senja Di Pelabuhan Kecil (1949)--its original version in Indonesian here. For a glimpse of this great poet, click here.)

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