Rajawali by WS Rendra

DS Anwar Ibrahim sent out a cryptic tweet a few days ago:

He was referencing the poem Rajawali that was dedicated to him by the late WS Rendra, an Indonesian literary figure and activist who was himself a political prisoner under the Suharto regime.  The poem is here:

I have tried to render it into English. Here is my translation of WS Rendra’s Rajawali:

The Eagle

An iron cage
cannot change the eagle
into a parrot.

The eagle is the sky’s beloved
and inside the iron cage
the eagle feels sure
the sky will always be waiting.

The sky without the eagle
is expanse and freedom without a soul
seven skies, seven eagles
seven realms, seven travelers.

The eagle that soars
enters solitude
gazing down upon the world
the eagle in the iron cage
sits in meditation
arranging his life’s affairs.

Life is a coral necklace of possibilities
made from the sweat of the sun
without the eagle’s steadfast heart
our eyes look only upon illusion.

The eagle that soars
is the stalwart defender of the sky
and he will pluck out both your eyes
O, you most traitorous polluter

 

The original version can be found in the collection of WS Rendra’s poetry Balada Si Burung Merak, available here.

UPDATE:

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim READ MY TRANSLATION and declared it to be, and I quote, “fantastic”.  I do hope you appreciate the value you are getting by being able to read this blog 100% for free.

Certified "fantastic" by Anwar Ibrahim
Certified “fantastic” by Anwar Ibrahim

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