martes, 10 de junio de 2008

Four O, Four O, the Hobby-Horse is NOT forgot

Does that work, that pun I did from Hamlet ? Not really, eh ? Anyway, I just passed that danger zone. I am now f***ing FORTY !! Some said life begins at forty, others talk about that famous crisis of the forties. My deduction : Life begins with a crisis . Ooops ...

Many thanx for the hundreds of birthday wishes arriving through emails, friends. I love you all! You're the greatest !

Last year, the great poet Sapardi Djoko Damono gave me a special present for my birthday : Four Sonnets, beautiful ones for me. You (if you read Indonesian) can read them in this blog, in my entry in June, last year. They were even chosen as one of the 100 best poems in Indonesian (those awards are irrelevant especially when you read the few other poems by other authors included in those 100 which are sort of ...hmm, shall we say, OK); you just read those sonnets and see how moved you'd be. This year, I have received --and am deeply touched, moved and grateful-- some poems as presents from my literary friends (which I'll publish in this blog later this month), but I think a more suitable poem --at least for today --would be an existing one from Walt Whitman (obviously, not written for me, and I'd be the only one in the world who says that this is one of the 100 best poems of the galaxy or whatever) :

O ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;

Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;

Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;

That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

Have I contributed my verse ? Have you ? I guess this is the poem which has made me going thru these years. Certainly I identify myself with the one who answers. I am not such a pessimistic person, though I do ask those questions from time to time. One can't help it when he turns 40! But I guess what Uncle Walt means with "you will contribute a verse" is exactly that : YOUR verse, MY verse . Not anybody else's. Not going with the flow. And I think I have been doing that all my life. And I always will.

I remember an advice from my parents : "Kid, I don't have the secret of success, but I have the secret of failure, and that is : trying to make everybody happy. You just CAN'T make everybody happy."

You just can't.