I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Rendra1Willibrordus Surendra Broto Rendra (November 7, 1935 – August 6, 2009), widely known as Rendra or W. S. Rendra, was an Indonesian dramatist, poet.

“I learned meditation and the disciplines of the traditional Javanese poet from my mother who was a palace dancer. The idea of the Javanese poet is to be a guardian of the spirit of the nation.”


W. S. Rendra

One hot Sunday
in a church full of people
a young priest stood at the pulpit.
His face was beautiful and holy
his eyes sweet like a rabbit’s
and he lifted up both his hands
which were lovely like a lily
and said:
“Now let us disperse.
There is no sermon today.”

No one budged.
They sat tight in their rows.
There were many standing.
They were stiff. Refused to move.
Their eyes stared.
Their mouths hung open
they stopped praying
but they all wanted to hear.
Then all at once they complained
and together with the strange voice from their mouths
which had to be quickly stifled.

“You can see I am still young.
Allow me to care for my own soul.
Please go away.
Allow me to praise holiness
I want to go back to the monastery
to meditate on the glory of God.”

Again they complained.
No one moved.
Their faces looked sad.
Their eyes questioned.
Their mouths gaped
wanting very much to hear.

“This people ask for guidance, Lord
God, why have you left me at this moment?
Like a flock of hungry lazy jackals
they hang their mouths.
It is hot. I piss in my pants.
Father. Father. Why hast Thou forsaken me?”

Still no one moved.
Their faces were wet.
Their hair was wet.
Their whole bodies were wet.
Sweat poured onto the floor
because it was so hot
and of the misery they bore.
The stench was extraordinarily foul
And their questions took stank foully.

“My brothers, children of the heavenly father.
This is my sermon.
My very first sermon.
Life is very difficult
Dark and difficult
There are many torments.
So in this regard
the wise way to live is ra-ra-ra
Ra-ra-ra, hump-pa-pa, ra-ra-ra.
Look at the wisdom of the lizard
the created God loves most
Go close to the ground
Your souls are squeezed between rocks
Like a lizard ra-ra-ra
like a centipede hum-pa-pa.”

All spoke together:
Ra-ra-ra. Hum-pa-pa.
With a roar everyone in the church:
Ra-ra-ra. Hum-pa-pa.

“To the men who like guns
who fix the flags of truth to their bayonet-points
I want you to listen carefully
to lu-lu-lu, la-li-lo-lu.
Lift your noses high
so you don’t see those you walk on.
For in this way li-li-li, la-li-lo-lu.
Cleanse the blood from your hands
so as not to frighten me
then we can sit and drink tea
and talk of the sufferings of society
and the nature of love and death.
Life is full of misery and sin.
Life is a big cheat.
La-la-la, li-li-li, la-li-lo-lu.

They stood. They stamped their feet on the floor
Stamping in one rhythm and together
Uniting their voices in:
La-la-la, li-li-li, la-li-lo-lu.
Carried along in the strength of their unity
they shouted together
precisely and rhythmically:
La-la-la, li-li-li, la-li-lo-lu.

“Now we live again.
Feel the force of the flow of the blood.
In your heads. In your necks. In your breasts.
In your stomachs. Throughout the rest of your bodies.
[See my fingers shaking with life
The blood is bong-bon-bong.
The blood of life is bang-bing-bong.
The blood of the common life is bang-bing-bong-bong.
Life must be lived in a noisy group.
Blood must mix with blood.
Bong-bong-bong. Bang-bing-bong.”

The people exploded with the passion of the lives.
They stood on the pews.
Banged with their feet.
Bells, gongs, door-pailings, window panes
If it made a noise they pounded on it.
With the one rhythm
In accompaniment to their joyous shouts of:
Bong-bong-bong. Bang-bing-bong.

“We must exalt love.
Love in the long grass.
Love in the shops of jews.
Love in the backyard of the church.
Love is unity and tra-la-la.
Tra-la-la. La-la-la. Tra-la-la.
Like the grass
we must flourish
in unity and love.
Let us pulverize ourselves.
Let us shelter beneath the grass.
Let us love beneath the grass.
Taking as our guide:
Tra-la-la. La-la-la. Tra-la-la.”

The whole congregation roared.
They began to dance. Following the one rhythm
They rubbed their bodies against each other
Men against women. Men against men.
Women with women. Everyone rubbed.
And some rubbed their bodies against the walls of the church.
And shouted in a queer mad voice
shrilly and together:
Tra-la-la. La-la-la. Tra-la-la.

“Through the holy prophet Moses
God has said:
Thou must not steal.
Junior civil servants stop stealing carbon.
Serving-girls stop stealing fried chicken bones.
Leaders stop stealing petro.
And girls, stop stealing your own virtue.
Of course, there is stealing and stealing.
The difference is: cha-cha-cha, cha-cha-cha.
All things come from God
which means
everything belongs to everyone.
Everything is for everyone.
We must be one. Us for us.
Cha-cha-cha, cha-cha-cha.
This is the guiding principle.”

They roared like animals:
Grrr-grrr-grrr. Hura.
Cha-cha-cha, cha-cha-cha.
They stole window panes.
They took everything in the church.
The candelabra. The curtains. The carpets.
The silverware. And the statues covered with jewels.
Cha-cha-cha, they sang:
Cha-cha-cha over and over again
They smashed the whole church
Like wet panting animals
running to-and-fro.
Cha-cha-cha, cha-cha-cha.
Then suddenly the shrill voice of an old woman was heard:
“I am hungry. Hungrry. Hu-u-unggrryyy.”
And suddenly everyone felt hungry.
Their eyes burned.
And they kept shouting cha-cha-cha.

“Because we are hungry
let us disperse.
Go home. Everyone stop.”

Cha-cha-cha, they said
and their eyes burned.

“Go home.
The mass and the sermon are over.”

Cha-cha-cha, they said.
They didn’t stop.
They pressed forward.
The church was smashed. And their eyes flashed.

“Lord, Remember the sufferings of Christ.
We are all his honored sons.
Hunger must be overcome by wisdom.”

They advance and beat against the pulpit.
They dragged the priest from the pulpit.
They tore his robes.
A Fat woman kissed his fine mouth.
And old woman licked his pure breast.
And girls pulled at both his legs.
And thus they raped him in a noisy throng.

Then they chopped his body to bits.
Everyone at his flesh. Cha-cha-cha.
They feasted in the strength of their unity.
They drank his blood.
They sucked the marrow from his bones.
Until they had eaten everything
and there was nothing left.


W.S. Rendra

In the pale moonlight
He carries his bride
Up that hill,
Both of them naked,
Bringing nothing but themselves.

So in all beginnings
The world is bare,
Empty, free of lies,
Dark with silence —

A silence that sinks
Into the depth of time.
Then comes light,
Man and animals.
So in all beginnings
Everything is bare,
Empty, open.

They’re both young,
Both have come a long way.
Passing through dawns bright with illusion,
Skies filled with hope,
Rivers lined with comfort,
They have come to the afternoon’s warmth,
Both of them dripping with sweat —

And standing on a barren coral reef.
So evening comes,
Bringing dreams
And a bed
Lined with gleaming coral necklaces.

They raise their heads:
Millions of stars in the sky.
This is their inheritance,
Stars and more stars,
More than could ever blink and go out.

In the pale moonlight
He carries his bride
Up that hill,
Both of them naked:
The world’s first face.