Libmonster ID: ID-1202
Author(s) of the publication: Yu. I. NOSKOV

Poetry in Indonesia is an extremely popular and truly national genre, as our regular readers were able to see thanks to the publication of thematic collections of poems by Indonesian poets-professional and non-professional-translated by the tireless enthusiast, specialist in the history and culture of Indonesia Yuri Ivanovich Noskov*. His last two collections of poems, it seems to us, can be combined under one title, since both of them are about the relationship between man and nature, which lost harmony in the process of industrialization, globalization, and the formation of a modern society of unrestrained consumption.

More recently, in the mid-20th century, Indonesian poets found inspiration in the perfection of nature, admired in their poems the beauty of the landscape, the purity of air, water, the virginity of forests, and painted idyllic pictures of peasant labor. Using the example of the following verses, we can see how gradually, with the development of the social, economic and environmental crisis in the country, these pictures change - from pastoral to strictly realistic.


Agriculture is the most important sector of the Indonesian economy. It mainly employs small-scale farmers and hired agricultural workers. The main agricultural crop is rice. Climatic conditions allow you to grow crops 2-3 times a year. Peasant labor and rural life occupy a large place in Indonesian poetry.

In the middle of the last century, poems about the peasantry and the countryside were distinguished by romanticism and responded in the soul with a pleasant feeling:

On the field, the wind swings rice,
Rustling, flying through the thickness.
The lotus really wants to open up.
Dew drips down the leaf.
I hear the farmer's song,
Goes with a hoe on his shoulder.
And the field pleases the alien,
Rice is reflected in the stream.

(Yudhodipura, "Breaking Dawn")

And here is a portrait of a peasant in Memed Gunawan's poem "Days of the Peasant":

His soul is calm,
his eyes steady.
His back is slouched and his face is lined...
He is clear, he is thoughtful,
like Socrates.
Words and feelings of a wise man.

Sentimental expressions about the beauty of the native village with the expanses of rice fields, blue mountains in the distance, clear water are a thing of the past. Millions of Indonesian farmers work in the fields, continuing the history of their ancestors, but the pictures of peasant everyday life today are no longer so serene.

I am a young peasant,
I don't know much about field days.
Someone will say, the work is simple,
But in reality, the choice is the most difficult.
Do you want to take a step forward -
The field keeps your feet sticky with mud.
The first step is my field is waiting,
And you can't find another road.
I'll plow the land with a plow,
My area will be the softest,
And I'll wet you with tears.
I remember my ancestors very often.
I continue to experience them,
Quenching the thirst of the sweat field.
Enough for the field of my strength,
If the weather doesn't stop loving us...

(Nulkilan, "The Peasant")

Indeed, the greatest disaster is drought, the harbinger of famine.

The heat burns the earth mercilessly.
The earth is quiet and silent.
But a person will find a way out,
Looking for shelter, running into the shadows.
Earth is sad in the dry season.
The trees are drying up and the fields are drying up.
The whole world is immersed in hope,
There will be rain, and the earth will come to life.

(Astuti, "Dry season")

But here comes the season of heavy rains, and often flooding destroys all crops.

Water covered all the valleys,
hectares of rice fields.
Rain stream relentless
Rice was taken away from the common people.

(Sanak Lembang Atlam, "When")

Other misfortunes - mice, insects...

But children suffer from their stomachs
there are no grains of rice in the houses.
On the mouse field, the rice was chewed all over.
And often children
are followed by death.

(Heru Sopian, "The Peasant")

...Take a look in the mirror, my country,
Then, when the peasant rice
plants it,
And the locusts are an uncountable wave
Instantly rice to the leaf
it eats you up.
To the peasant to fight
with locusts
It is known that neither the forces nor the means are
not enough...
meekly he resigns himself to fate.
Harvest dreams are fading darkly.

(Gola Gong, "Look at you, my country")

If officials talk about the welfare of the peasantry, referring to statistics on the growth of agricultural production in the country, then poets see the situation differently, reflecting the hardships of peasant labor, the sufferings and disasters of modern farmers.

With a plate of rice at the table
Let's think about those who give rice.
Well, who of the townspeople is familiar
With the lowing of a buffalo, who
knows the sweat,
Peasant strong sweat,
What does the ploughman spill in the furrow?
No, the citizen won't understand,
That rice grows through labor.
And we only give the peasants pain.
We're taking over the fields en masse.
And now the peasant is naked.
Land goes under construction...

Farmers and their families often go hungry, especially in dry years, and flee to the cities or become workers in businesses built on their own land.

* See: "Asia and Africa Today" - 2001, N 9; 2006, N 5; 2007, N 6; 2008, N 7; 2009, N 1.

page 78

The investor was sold by a peasant
Construction has begun there
the factory.
Peasant land more
I don't care anymore,
And there is no money, even though it has not passed
and the year.
The peasant sent his sons
to work
To the factory on his allotment,
Machines are noisy, workers
' faces are sweating,
It's like they're wearing shackles
put it on.
They are slaves in their own home
the former,
And the life of the peasant and the village
everything is further away,
As if the kids aren't from there
And they even forget the roots of their ancestors.

(Saiful Bakri, "Building")

Prices for everything farmers need are rising in the country, while purchasing prices for their products are falling, and taxes are being squeezed... But everywhere and always the peasant is warmed by the hope of a harvest, of a better life.

...Waiting for something in the rice paddies
To the sound of frogs and insects.
I write salty poems in tears,
Tears of peasants, acquaintances,
Farmers are waiting for the harvest season,
Hoping and trusting in God.

(Dorothea Rosa Herliani, "Poems Don't End")

A farmer working on the land has to adapt to new conditions, hope for good luck and pray to God for mercy. Meanwhile, a social movement to save the environment is becoming more active in cities. Poets are sounding the alarm!


At the end of 2008, a meeting of Indonesian writers on the theme "Environment as a means of inspiring writers and poets" was held in Bandung (West Java), where they discussed the difficult environmental situation in the country, the problems of environmental pollution and the mobilization of society for its preservation and restoration. In the near future, such meetings should be held in 10 provinces of the country.

In Indonesian literature and, of course, in poetry, we hear the "cry of the earth", the pain for the future of nature and man as an integral part of it.

We are a wild, vicious pack of animals,
That destroy places of habitation.
Forests laid bare in a landscape
of wastelands,
And we continue our efforts.
We try to create it everywhere
the void,
Forests gnawing their teeth.
Gluttonous, greedy,
like cattle,
We are fleecing ourselves.
Concrete blocks are held in high esteem by us.
The dominance of fire and metal
The equator will be pulverized, -
cry Pegasus, -
The line became sad.
The emerald is about to become
black coal.
Smoke in the sky, and the rivers are shallow.
We are used to explosions, shrapnel
all around.
The soul froze, stiffens.

(Anna Karthika Sari, "The Forest")

The earth itself appeals to man, sighing about the past and demanding to revive and protect nature:

Human, I am the Earth goddess.
This is the place where you were born,
Where did your childhood years go,
Where you joined the world of this life.
I'm only inhaling smoke right now,
He is a poison to my trees.
I drink water with the drain waste,
A horde of fish dies in them.
I have to swallow garbage,
Which causes the soil to die.
Paying. How much longer do I need
From disorders of my heart
it's getting cold.
I was proud, like your ancestors
They highly valued nature,
We are grateful for the voice of the jet,
For fishing and hunting.
And now you
only want to take it
And don't think about what will happen tomorrow.
The forest will disappear - you don't care.
In the waters of mud-who are you
he will condemn you...

(Chandra Sathria Muda, "The Earth Goddess Weeps")

The river also calls out to people, warning that thoughtless deforestation will lead to even greater natural disasters.

Calmly before I flowed,
Cutting the forest almost in half.
The water was ringing,
With a melody pleasing to the gods.
That forest is no longer virgin,
Violence against him at the hands of people.
Trees, those that reach to the sky,
They fell groaning to the crash
My curves, depth
Once radiated purity.
Everything from the surface to the bottom
Now polluted, living in hell...
Hear, murmur, seethe
alarms of the rivers.
Stop the violence against the forest!
Otherwise, there will often be floods.

(Badri, "Biography of the River")

Garbage dumps are piled up everywhere, littering everything around and posing a threat to human health.

Created by people in the city of Chimakhi*
From the urban garbage volcano.
The surrounding
area reeked of stench,
And the whole caravan stretches.
In all noses the poison penetrates,
The whole atmosphere is saturated
through and through.
Culture with life
it's rotting,
A churchyard is ready for everything here.
After all, this garbage volcano
it will explode
And it will consume hundreds of souls with lava.
Whose heart is troubled
will it respond?
Who is a crisis by nature
disgust you?..

(Agustinus Wahjono, "The Mountain of Garbage will Explode")

The poet warns that people's indifference to environmental pollution will lead to new troubles. Nature is already responding with disasters to the barbaric attitude towards it:

The thorny path frightens me
The nature of the disaster is upon us
it lets you down.
The volcano spews fire and lava.
The earthquake torments people.
Floods from the rains
threaten them.
A tsunami wave destroys everything.
People should experience all this.
For what all the troubles to us, who
will give the answer?
For the greed of man, the wrath
of nature.
He greedily robs the land.
from one year.
Nature cries from the smoke
the factory.
The sun looks
down from the sky with longing.
Who should I ask for all our services?
Perhaps beauty,
which doesn't exist.

(Dwi Tulus Panevun, "My Nature")

Poetry states that the wheel of globalization is rolling too fast on people, and they live in the present day, without thinking about the future.

Translated poems from Indonesian by Yu. I. NOSKOV

* Chimahi is a city in West Java.


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