Reviewing the Authorship of Sutardji Calzoum Bachri (SCB) from Nurel’s Book: “MENGGUGAT TANGGUNGJAWAB KEPENYAIRAN” (Sue Responsibility of Authorship of Sutardji Calzoum Bachri)*

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Written by Aguk Irawan MN **
Translated by Agus B. Harianto

Penyair-penyair itu diikuti orang-orang yang sesat. Tidakkah kau lihat mereka menenggelamkan diri dalam sembarang lembah khayalan dan kata. Dan mereka sering mengujarkan apa yang tak mereka kerjakan. Kecuali mereka yang beriman, beramal baik, banyak mengingat dan menyebut Allah dan melakukan pembelaan ketika didzalimi. (QS As-Syu’ara, 224-227)

As for the poets, [only]the perverse follow them. Have you not noticed that in every valley they rove. and that they say what they do not do?  Save those who believe and perform righteous deeds and remember God frequently and vindicate themselves after they have been wronged, and those who are wrongdoers will soon know the reversal with which they will meet. (QS. As-Syu’ara, 224-227). (original translation from the link

I thought I the need to quote the verse above, because beside SCB brought it in his second credo “Sajak dan Pertanggungjawaban Penyair”, Pidato Kebudayaan in the event of Pekan Presiden Penyair, which was published in HU Republika, September 9, 2007, Nurel Javissyarqi (NJ) himself as the author of “Menggugat Tanggungjawab Kepanyairan SCB “(published by Sastrenesia, 2011) also talkatively tried to explain, interpret, and reflect the values and messages of the verse to make sense of SCB’s second credo.

After I finished reading the NJ’s book which was reviewing the content of SCB’s speech that is attached in the book, at least I found two reasons within the framework of the objections of NJ to the content of the speech. First, NJ felt, SCB was redundantly in meaning the profession of poet, which just free to dream and free to create and then no more after that, including his accountability to the reader, to himself and certainly to the God. Because according to SCB, the poet was almost equal with the “profession” of the God, which is merely dream and create, and then be, the kun fayakun. For NJ, the profession as a poet, no less and no more than other professions; photographers, farmers, merchants, laborers, fishermen, teachers and others, which of course after he did something, there is something else that’s even bigger than the original, which is the responsibility.

Second, NJ considered that the SCB had wrong thought about the meaning and function of words, language and of course the poetry in life, because it’s long time SCB has conviction, that the word should be freed from colonializing of the meaning and its function as a tool carrier of understanding. Thus, NJ tried to catch this purpose, and then he nagged, and of course criticized, though he himself seems haltingly.

As I’ve written (Penyair dan al-Qur’an dalam Rekaman Sejarah) in the same newspaper where SCB’s writing was published (Republika), even time of its printed was also in the same month and year (2007). I quoted the opinion of Syauqi Dlaif in the book Tarikh al-Adab al-Arabi (Cairo: Dar al-Maarif, 1968), perhaps it could be a counterweight of ideas between SCB and NJ, or it could be used as complementary data for NJ. It’s explained that al-Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, not only brings the right directions, but it’s also as a ‘contender’ literary prominence of Jahily and enlightenment for the prominence.

The prominence of Jahily literature, at that time, is doubtless by many cultural observers. Ancient manuscripts (Jahily literature), proves it. However, in those days, please do not ask how the poetic form and meaning of the poem can be translated? Furthermore, how the moral of its society was, particularly the behavior of the poets. From that background, Ibn Qutaibah in the book Asy-Syi’ir was as-Asyu’ara (Beirut: Dar ats-Tsaqafah, 1969) describes the day of birth and origin of the cause the ayah above was revealed to the Prophet.

According to Qutaibah, why the literatures that purportedly as pillar of a civilization seem useless? Of course, because the Jahily literature is nearly keep no meaning that can develop civilizations, see how the form of mantra-like poems that have been written by Musailama such as in Ma Huwal Fil? So did Imri ‘al-Qois, with his Ayyuha Attahali al-Bali? Or the work of other accomplished poets of Jahily, such as Abu Mihjan ats-Tsaqafi, Abu ath-Thamhan al-Qaini, Dhabi bin al-Harist al-Barjami, Suhaim Abdul Bani al-Hashas, an-Najasy al-Haritsi, and Syabil bin-Waraqa. Then compared with the works of poets who have received “enlightenment” of the Prophet, like Hasan ibn Tsabit, Ka’ab bin Zuhair, Labid bin Rabi’ah and Ibn Rawahah.

The Prophet and of course Muslims believe, that only meaningful literature can be analyzed (read: have wisdom), which took in goodness, and stay away from all depravities and the creators is in the front row to run it which can bring people’s lives for the better, which is able to sustain the civilization, that does not ” yaquluna ma yaf”alun” (just saying, but never do it). Muslim historians’ at-Tahawani recounts the history of the revealing of surah As-Syu’ara (the poets) caused by the fact around the Prophet was the loudmouth, player of the words, and confine the words to be cheated which the first for the sake of the goodness to be all of amoral, and so instead, hence the verse clearly states that; the poets were followed by lost people. On this reason, when a friend asked whether the Prophet had poetry, Aisyah said that the poetry is a pattern of speech that he hated (Ath-Thabari, Jami ‘al-Bayan, Juz IX, p. 224). The poetry meant here is the type just a hoax and merely acrobatic of language. The only exception is the poet of faith, which certainly did not want to be tempted merely by the stream of language acrobatic course, but it gave lessons and held a defense when were colonized by wrongdoers.

Well, from this bit of understanding, at least we can conclude, what has been written by the SCB with in the creative process or career of his literary man. When he declare, that the words should be free to define itself. That the words should be set free from obsolete traditions chains it such as dictionaries and other colonization.

Not just that, on his second thoughts in his “Credo” was, SCB also wants to “restore the word to mantra”. So that SCB in using the verse above, he told tafsir, thus the poet can do all he will and imagination freely, and then arrange the words wildly, difficulty and of course, no need to be ashamed, moreover had to be burdened to responsible it to the audience, the God and himself. He forgot, that the verse as a beginner for the emphasis of “the lost” poet, also there is an exception as an assertion (which is the poet in faith). Let us take the example one of his work and enjoy it:

Sutardji Calzoum Bachri

ngiau! kucing dalam darah dia menderas
lewat dia mengalir ngilu ngiau dia ber
gegas lewat dalam aortaku dalam rimba
darahku dia besar dia bukan harimau bu
kan singa bukan hiena bukan leopar dia
macam kucing bukan kucing tapi kucing
ngiau dia lapar dia merambah af
rikaku dengan cakarnya dengan amuknya
dia meraung dia mengerang jangan beri
daging dia tak mau daging jesus jangan
beri roti dia tak mau roti ngiau
kucing meronta dalam darahku meraung me
rambah barah darahku dia lapar O a
langkah lapar ngiau berapa juta hari
dia tak memakan berapa ribu waktu dia
tak kenyang berapa juta lapar laparku
cingku berapa abad dia mencari menca
kar menunggu tuhan mencipta kucingku
tanpa mauku dan sekarang dia meraung
mencariMu dia lapar jangan beri da
ging jangan beri nasi tuhan mencipta
nya tanpa setahuku dan kini dia minta
tuhan sejumput saja untuk tenang seha
ri untuk kenyang sewaktu untuk tenang
di bumi ngiau! dia meraung dia menge
rang hei berapa tuhan yang kalian pu
nya beri aku satu sekedar pemuas ku
cingku hari ini ngiau huss puss diam
lah aku pasang perangkap di afrika aku
pasang perangkap di amazom aku pasang
perangkap di riau aku pasang perangkap
di kota kota siapa tahu nanti ada satu
tuhan yang kena lumayan kita bisa berbagi
sekerat untuk kau sekerat untuk aku
ngiau huss puss diamlah

Allah says, “Al-Qur’an is not the speech of a poet. Little do you believe! Nor [is it]the speech of a soothsayer. Little do you remember!.” (Surah Al-Haqqah: 41-42, original translation taken from the link So, the prophet was not a shaman (witch) and also he is not a poet. The Prophet is the recipient of kalamullah. Al-Jumahi said that something could pulsate the people is not just the words, but it’s also the poetry and the mantra of type of witchcraft / sorcery. It means that there is emphasis on the differences between the essence of God’s words, language and mantras. (Muhammad bin Sulam al-Jumahi, Thabaqat Fuhul ash-Syu’ara, p. 188). From her I reflected and I believe that between the poetry and the mantra are two different types, viewed from various aspects and condition.

Although until now there have been no precise limits on the definition of poetry. But at least, linguists have agreed that the outline of the poem is a solid form of writing and are bounded by the terms: such as the number of rows in each row, and the presence of rime or rhyme, either horizontally rhyme or vertically rhyme. The pressure point of the solid is, no other than, surely the meaning and its philosophical values.

And Ajip Rosidi (1987:67) stated that the mantra is a series of words, and often contain adopted of foreign words that are likely derived from Sanskrit, Arabic, and Tibetan. The words in the mantra are told by a handler or a shaman to another handler verbally so it often lessens in such a way and it is difficult to find the original patterns. Essentially, the mantra is a pattern of old poem that is really a form of words or sayings that can bring supernatural power. Generally, in a complete mantra there are elements of the title, the opening element, and the element of intent, the element of suggestion, the element of purpose and enclosure elements. However, the most important and most basic of the mantra is the element of suggestion, because from this element of suggestion the mantra has the power to awaken the potential of magical powers. Besides the element of suggestion, in the practice of mantra, such as in Java, there are the elements of mystical deed supported. This element of mystical deed is the inclusion of fasting activity in the process of reciting a mantra.

And then, would you agree, if NJ clearly stated that SCB is not a poet, but A MANTRA MAN or A SHAMAN? Or, even if SCB is insisted to be classified into the poet, then SCB is JAHILIY POET? Let’s discuss?

Rumah Kata, July 18, 2011

Presented in the event of Bedah Buku (book review) “Menggugat TAnggung Jawab Kepenyairan SCB”, written by Nurel Javissyarqi, in Pusat Kebudayaan Indonesia-Belanda “Karta Pustaka,” Jl. Bintaran Tengah 16 Yogyakarta, July 21, 2011.

The translator of the book “O Amuk Kapak” to be “Atholasim”, written by SCB, published in Egypt.

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