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Patiwangi: Renunciation | Patiwangi

4 November 2012

Patiwangi: Renunciation1

this is my new land
a spring guarantees its existence
fish embark on new love affairs
branches bearing budding leaves
fashion a burial ceremony

I can smell all kinds of flowers
and ritual offerings curse the feet I sink into soil
the tinkling of bells arrests the compass
powerless to guide the gods home

In the temples I make a map
to carry my colors to the sun’s family tree
the earth broods, the soil buries its wrath
no fragment of sound remains
to set my colors free

the men who are present challenge the sun
awaiting their chosen woman’s hue
no temple rites exist for them to perform

the officiants can only inhale the incense
required to recognize too many gods
and still the men press their suits for my hand

because of my name
I need to possess a ritual history

of this selection
I will bathe posterity’s children clean

Patiwangi2

inilah tanah baruku
mata air menentukan hidupnya
ikan-ikan memulai percintaan baru
batang-batang yang menopang daun-daun muda
membuat upacara penguburan

telah kucium beragarn bunga
dan sesajen mengutuk kaki yang kubenamkan di tanah
suara genta menyumbat mata angin
tak mampu mengantar dewa pulang

kubuat peta di Pura-Pura
mengantar warnaku pada silsilah matahari
bumi mengeram, tanah memendam amarah
tak ada pecahan suara
menyelamatkan warnaku

para lelaki menantang matahari
menunggu warna perempuan pilihannya
tak ada upacara untuknya di setiap sudut Pura

para pemangku hanya mencium bangkai dupa
terlalu banyak dewa yang hams diingat
dan para lelaki terus meminang

karena namaku
kuharus punya sejarah upacara

anak-anak
kelak kumandikan dari pilihan ini

1995

English translation by Deborah Cole

  1. ‘Patiwangi’ (pati=death; wangi=fragrant) is a Balinese-Hindu rite an upper-caste
    women is obliged to perform when she marries a man of a lower caste. In so
    doing, she renounces her caste and becomes that of her husband.
  2. Patiwangi: Pati, mati. Wangi, keharuman. Pariwangi adalah upacara yang dilakukan
    terhadap perempuan bangsawan di Pura Desa untuk menghilangkan
    kebangsawanannya, karena menikahi laki-laki yang berkasta lebih rendah.
    Seringkali upacara ini berdampak psikologis bagi para perempuan bangsawan.
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