I would spin the sea-spray
into a belt that binds you

I would braid the rolling waves
to spread a sleeping mat for you

I would weave of the clouds
a shawl to cover the hair of you

I would stitch the mountain breeze
into an evening-gown for you

I would pluck from the eastern star
a brooch to adorn the breast of you

I would shake down the eclipsed moon
to shine upon my longing for you

I would fell the sun
into a sea of night for you
breathing the honeyed sweetness of you

with dreams uncounted
the truth was butchered
a paradise of falsehood


Akan kupintal buih-buih
menjadi tali mengikatmu

Akan kuanyam gelombang-gelombang
menjadi hamparan ranjang tidurmu

Akan kutenun awan-gemawan
menjadi selendang menudungi rambutmu

Akan kujahit bayu gunung
menjadi baju pakaian malammu

Akan kupetik bintang timur
menjadi kerongsang menyinari dadamu

Akan kujolok bulan gerhana
menjadi lampu menyuluhi rindu

Akan kurebahkan matari
menjadi laut malammu
menghirup sakar madumu

hitunglah mimpi
yang membunuh realiti
dengan syurga ilusi.

A poem by Usman Awang
Translation by Bin Gregory Productions, upon request of NI

[update: small correction to 6th stanza, 10th Oct 2013]

[update: added video with changes to first, sixth and final stanzas, 24th Aug 2017.

Original first stanza:

“I would spin the sea-spray
fashioning a belt for you”

Original sixth stanza:

“I would shake down the eclipsed moon
for a lamp to light my longing”

Original final stanza:

Count the dreams
That slew the truth
With their false paradise” ]

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

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  1. This is very nice 😀 The translation is nice also. almost there. wow. this would be awesome if it was performed as spoken word. with translations for each verse 🙂

  2. Usman Awang was not a member of Kopratasa. He was a poet. Kopratasa consists of 3 members who sing poetic songs, and this poem is one of the songs they sing. There are many songs that use this poem as the lyrics but I personally like the version by Kopratasa.

  3. Baju malam should not be translated as evening gown, which is a long, formal dress worn for balls, parties and other grand occasions. Isn;t baju malam what you wear to sleep?

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