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Buah Rindu (1941)

Although published only in 1941, Amir Hamzah’s poems in Buah Rindu had been written earlier than the poems in Nyanyi Sunyi which were published 1937. Buah Rindu anthology contains twenty-eight titles of poetry*. On the last page, which is a dedication page, was written:

Ke bawah paduka Indonesia-Raya
Ke bawah lebu Ibu-Ratu
Ke bawah kaki Sendari-Dewi

While the time of writing is listed: Jakarta-Solo-Jakarta 1928 to 1935.

Achdiat K. Mihardja, who knew Amir privately, explains that in this anthology “there appears the shadow of Amir lives in the seven years he was in the two cities, Jakarta and Solo” (Achdiat K. Mihardja in Abrar Yusra, 1996:92). Meanwhile, Ajip Rosidi (in Yusra, 1996:95) believes that Amir still thinks Buah Rindu “the workout (practice) to later write Nyanyi Sunyi” and that “Buah Rindu is the first experiments of Amir writing poems.”

A. Teeuw (1959:116), when discussing this anthology in Pokok dan Tokoh I (Jakarta, 1959) states that in this anthology, readers will “meet with the singer of silence, the singer of longing for home”. The longing is depicted in various forms and is still addressed to the various things in this country (Indonesia, then still officially named the Dutch East Indies). Sometimes the longing is directed to the homeland (Sumatra), because the poems were written at the time when Hamzah studied in Java.

From the poems in Buah Rindu and also his many biographies, it appears that as during his stay in Java, Amir feels a stranger, but the strangeness is then felt not only because he was in Java, but also because he was here, in this world. This then became the basic style of his poetry: self-alienated and lonely and desolate.

The greatness of Amir as a poet is that he expresses these by old habits, for example by calling itself as a dagang (traveler), musyafir lata (lone traveler), hina (despicable), fakir (destitute), and kelana (wanderer), but with new meanings and nuances. Achdiat (in Yusra, 1996:91) noted that Amir strength lies primarily in developing sound and figurative language. He is very clever in setting words which then become very melodious voice circuits. Amir very freely enter the Java words, Kawi or Sanskrit into his poems, for example dewangga, dewala, sura, prawira, estu, Ningrum, padma, cendera, deksina, purwa, jampi, sekar, alas, maskumambang, rangkum-rinangkum and others.

Intensification of foreignness, loneliness, and loneliness in Amir are represented also, for example, in the callings to mother: Amir in Buah Rindu repeatedly using Ibu and Bonda (both of them means mother). Teeuw (1959:116) suspected that, although at first it could not be ascertained whether Amir’s biological mother or homeland that must be listened to the lament of the poet, the reader can immediately know that the two had become one for Amir. It feels strong in this stanza:

Bunda, waktu tuan melahirkan beta
Pada subuh kembang cempaka
Adakah ibu menaruh sangka
Bahwa begini peminta anakda?

So quiet and pain is the “fate” of the poet that only death are considered desirable because it will be able to escape from the “pain”:

Datanglah engkau, wahai maut
Lepaskan aku dari nestapa
Engkau lagi tempatku berpaut
Di waktu ini gelap gulita.

Amir is still using symbols that can be used by the poets everywhere, both the poets of the Western world and in the East, such as flowers and birds - perhaps this is why HB Jassin referred to him as “representative of the Malay past.” However, although these common symbols are repeatedly used to express the silence, the variety, or manner of expression, is various. Symbols were processed so as to produce a language typical of Melayu/Indonesia that is more fresh. Amir live it in such a way that he was able to use it sparingly and precisely and “How the old and worn metaphor suddenly become wonderful” (Teeuw, 1959:118):

Tuan aduhai mega berarak
Yang meliputi dewangga raya
Berhentilah tuan di atas teratak
Anak Langkat musyafir lata

Sesaat, sekejap mata beta berpesan
Padamu tuan aduhai awan
Arah manakah tuan berjalan,
Di negeri manakan tuan bertahan?

Sampaikan rinduku pada adinda
Bisikkan rayuanku pada juita
Liputi lututnya muda kencana
Serupa beta memeluk dia.

A. Teeuw Amir commented extensively on the language reform through the poems in the Buah Rindu as follows:

In a more limited meaning, Amir Hamzah is very advantageous so he can use all the possibilities available in the language, but his way is a clear patterns of his personality and full of happiness. Stanzas that are mostly four lined is a string of syair. The rows containing four words too, which is impossible to be imitated in other languages, with a simple beauty, with a rhyme-between, with alliteration that all represent famous properties in the literature of ancient Malay [sic], but here is not used just a cliche. Here, inspiration is not destroyed simply because it wanted to maintain the rhyme, no additions that are not meant, or who may be held so as the line to be full, not a component that can not be accounted for, because it has a full line, and there is not a single sound that hides the inner emptiness alone. No, here was a young poet able to create a beautiful harmony between the old and the young, between antiquity and freedom, between the rule and inspiration (Teeuw, 1959:119).

Amir’s choice to write poems which were then published in Melayu/Indonesia, in the years before the independence of Indonesia, is a very brave choice and visionary. When asked by the surprised Achdiat, “Your poems in Indonesian?”, Amir said, “And then in what language should I sing?”  (Mihardja in Yusra, 1996:89-90).

In those days, there were not many educated young people who made rhymes in Indonesian. Most of them are still pouring out their heart and mind in Dutch. In fact, the struggle for Indonesian landmark just rang. In the magazines such as Indonesia Moeda and Timboel, poems in Indonesia were rarely appeared. The majority of the poems were written half Indonesian and half Dutch. The famous poet of pujangga baru (new-poets) were only Sanusi Pane and [Mohammad] Yamin (Mihardja in Yusra, 1996: 90).

However, Achidat asserted that the choice was also influenced by the fact that Amir had earlier get used to Indonesian since for the children in Sumatra, Indonesian was not so strange as, for example, for the children of Javanese or Sundanese (Mihardja in Yusra, 1996: 90 ). (An. Ismanto/1/TAH/05-2010)

This number is correct if each one of the “Buah Rindu” 1-4 is considered as individual verse and each one of the “Bonda” 1-2 is also considered as such.

Work cited

Mihardja, Achdiat K., 1948. Amir Hamzah dalam kenangan. In Abrar Yusra (Ed.), 1996. Amir Hamzah 1911 – 1946 sebagai manusia dan penyair. Jakarta: Dokumentasi Sastra H.B. Jassin.

Rosidi, Ajip, 1960. Amir Hamzah: hati yang ragu. In Abrar Yusra (Ed.), 1996. Amir Hamzah 1911 – 1946 sebagai manusia dan penyair. Jakarta: Dokumentasi Sastra H.B. Jassin.

Teeuw, A., 1959. Pokok dan tokoh I. Cetakan ke-5. Jakarta: PT. Pembangunan.

  1. Cempaka.
  2. Cempaka Mulia.
  3. Purnama Raya.
  4. Buah Rindu 1.
  5. Buah Rindu 2.
  6. Buah Rindu 3.
  7. Buah Rindu 4.
  8. Kusangka.
  9. Tinggallah.
  10. Tuhanku Apatah Kekal?.
  11. Senyum Hatiku, Senyum.
  12. Teluk Jayakatera.
  13. Hang Tuah.
  14. Ragu.
  15. Bonda 1.
  16. Bonda 2.
  17. Dagang.
  18. Mabuk.
  19. Sunyi.
  20. Kamadewi.
  21. Kenangan.
  22. Dalam Matamu.
  23. Malam.
  24. Berlagu Hatiku.
  25. Harum Rambutmu.
  26. Berdiri Aku.
  27. Pada Senja.
  28. Naik-naik.
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