Monday, September 26, 2011

The Classic (Malay) Pantuns

Can you recognize the classic (original) Malay pantuns? Yes, for some, not for the others. For sure I would not be able to translate this into English the way George A Fowler did.

Pandan Island lies far out at sea
its sight by Angsa Isle conceals
However broken the body may be
Kindness is always the balm that heals

In the meadow there is a spring
surely you may use it to bathe in
if many years my life doth bring
Then surely, too, we will meet again

The sun moves west in a sky so blue
soon the cattle must come home
It was so very long I looked for you
why, oh why, did I ever start to roam?

Whence comes the lowly leech?
From the paddy field to the brook
Whence comes the love's speech?
From the eyes falls to the heart's nook

Excerpt taken from the classic Malay Indonesian novel, Sitti Nurbaya, written by Marah Rusli, and translated by George A Fowler.

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