Indonesia Inquiry

Poem – “The Moon is High”

August 4, 2011 Poetry Travel & Living Abroad 0

THE MOON IS HIGH (Indonesian Version)

By Toeti Heraty

Bulan tinggi di langit
Ini kali bukan bulan sabit
di pulau Gilimeno, di pasir pantai
di seberang pengalaman, tangan
yang luput menggapai

Bulan tinggi di langit
memang putih bulat genderang
bertalu, bercak perak cemerlang
cemara berderap, ombak berderai
nafsu hidup, cinta makna
keping-keping yang perlu

Bulan tinggi di langit
madu Sumbawa di Mataram!
tanya-jawab menyentuh sengit
bulan madu yang geram
dalam senandung kesenjangan
bila tivi sudah mati, percakapan
terhenti, bila perahu sudah karam

Ini kali kau memang mahir
mengulur tali tambang penyelamat
dari pulau ke pulau, aku
tenggelam belum, terapung tidak
tanpa jangkar tertambat



THE MOON IS HIGH (English Version with extra verses)

By Toeti Heraty

The moon is high
Not a crescent this time.
On Gilimeno island, on the sandy beach,
it glides beyond experience
beyond the reach of my hand.

The moon is high
Pale and round, the drum
Beats, speckled silver-bright.
The casuarinas dance, the waves lash out;
The passion of life, love, their meaning
Pages that need
To be sorted.

The moon is high.
Honey from Sumbawa in Mataram!
Questions and answers are a bitterness –
An angry honey moon
Very late, a distant, intermittent hum
After the TV has been switched off, and conversation
Has died down; after the boats have foundered.

This time you have mastered the skill
Of throwing the safety rope
From island to island.
I have not yet drowned, I have not drifted
Even though I have no anchor.

A bewitching moon beckons
Melbourne and Sidney-style property on the beach
Verandas draped with bougainvillea
Tall grasses and crotons will collapse in fear
Battered by storms
Before this manuscript, this life story
Has reached its final age.

The moon is high
Clear as the tinkle of a bell
The sound of foreign cash spreads
The corals are desecrated, and the tourist’s dream.

Wanderer, honey moon,
Lyrics of a song, fragments of a tune
Searched for and nearly found.