That Dog

Usman Awang was a renowned Malay writer and I’ve taken the liberty of translating one of his poems into English. The seventh paragraph was omitted from the original publication in Utusan Zaman for being ‘subversive’.

——————————————————-

That thin grey dog
Tongue hung out breathless
Guarding the fat owner’s castle
Loyally obeying, accepting, and surrendering.

That dog, constantly barking eternally howling
Not at enemies present
But begging for food, starving
The owner throws him pieces of dried bread.

That dog, never released
The neck collared, the chain in firm grip of the hand.

That dog, when needed, is ordered
To protect the safety of the owner
An animal protection from outside forces
And the crush inside.

Thus the fate of that dog
Stick thin, everything in poverty
Only waiting for the mercy of the owner
And pieces of dried bread
And bones with little meat left
His food, his life
The convenient instrument, slave to the evil human

Who is the dog
But a loyal animal.

 

——————————

Anjing itu kurus kelabu
Lidah terjelir nafas termengah-mengah
Menjaga istana tuannya yang gemuk
Patuh setia, menerima dan menyerah.

Anjing itu, sering menyalak-nyalak selalunya mendayu-dayu
Bukan kerana ada musuh
Tetapi minta makanan, perutnya lapar
Tuannya hanya mencampakkan cebis-cebis roti kering.

Anjing itu, tidak dibebaskan
Lehernya dirantai, punca digenggaman tuannya.

Anjing itu, bila perlu, diperah
Bagi menjaga keselamatan tuannya
Menjadi binatang lindungan desakan luar
Dan himpitan dalam.

Begitu rupa nasib, anjing itu
Kurus kering, dalam semuanya tak cukupan
Hanya menanti rahim tuannya
Cebis-cebis roti kering
Dan tulang-tulang tak berdaging
Itulah jadi makanan, dan hidup jadi
Alat kesenangan manusia jahat memperhambakannya.

Siapa anjing
Hanya binatang setia.

3 Jun 1950, Utusan Zaman

 

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