Chairil Anwar statue

Chairil Anwar statue

By all accounts, Indonesian poet Chairil Anwar lived the bohemian lifestyle, a sort of Indonesian equivalent of the great Oscar Wilde. These insalubrious digressions are (it is said) to have accounted for Chairil’s early demise – he passed away on 28 April 1949, aged only 26. But Chairil could write, and he left a great legacy. This poem is my favorite, translated brilliantly by Jakarta veteran John H. McGlynn:

The Seized and the Severed

the darkness and passing wind overtake me
and the room where the one I long for shivers
with night’s penetration; trees stand like dead memorials
but in Karet, yes, Karet Cemetery – my future locale – there, the wind howls, too

I put my room in order, and myself as well, in the chance that you might come
and I may once again unleash a new story for you;
but now it’s only my hands that move, emptily
my body is still and alone, as frozen stories and events pass by


Popular posts from this blog

20 things you should know about Indonesian girls

The comfort zone (Jakarta hotel and spa)

The 10 best plus plus spas in Jakarta