3 Examples of Poetry in Indonesia – Types – Meaning

Poem and poetry is one of the famous literature branch in Indonesia. Numbers of poems have been written by numerous Indonesian poets from years to years. Old poems are classical, but people nowadays prefers modern and contemporary poems.

Learning Indonesian poems gives you the chance to learn new vocabularies because the main characteristic of poem is the use of unique diction. Here’s we are going to learn about the examples of poetry in Indonesia.

Types of Poetry in Indonesia 

Similar as in English, Indonesian poem is also classified into some categories according to the era of creation. In general, poetry in Bahasa Indonesia is classified into three which are old poem, modern poem, and contemporary poem. Also learn Indonesian heritage language and literature.

1. Old poem (around 1920s)

Almost all old poems are bounded to follow the rules such as:

  • The amount of the word in 1 line
  • The amount of the line in 1 couplet
  • Rhyme
  • The amount of syllable in 1 line
  • Rhythmic

The old poem can be found in various forms such as mantra, gurindam (poe), syair (bardic), pantun, bidal, pepatah (aphorism), and many more.

Also learn more about Indonesian proverbs with English equivalent.

2. Modern poem (from 1920s to present)

Modern poem is identified from the amount of line in every couplet. It does not use the same rules as the old poem, but more importantly the amount of the line. Any poem from 1920 until present is considered as modern poem.

Also, modern poem is divided into more specific categories such as balada (balad), ode, himne (hymn), romansa (romance), elegi (elegy). Epigram, distikon, satir (satire), sonata, and more. Most modern poem includes the name of the poet and it mostly speaks of general life.

3. Contemporary poem 

The contemporary poem does no longer speak of how great the language of the poet. But it stresses more on the typography structure, the use of foreign words, and sometimes even harsh words.

This type of poem is not bounded to the rules of old and modern poems but it has its own characteristic to differentiate from the rest of literature works. The characteristic includes selective choice of diction which caters deep meaning, portrayal, and symbolism.

Also learn Indonesian bad words and meaning

Examples of Poetry in Indonesia

Below are some famous Indonesian poems examples

Aku Ingin (Sapardi Djoko Damono)

Aku ingin mencintaimu dengan sederhana

Dengan kata yang tak sempat diucapkan kayu

Kepada api yang menjadikannya abu.

Aku ingin mencintaimu dengan sederhana

Dengan isyarat yang tak sempat disampaikan awan

Kepada hujan yang menjadikannya tiada


I want to love you modestly

Through unspoken words the woods to the fire

that make it ashes

I want to love you modestly

Through unspoken sign the clouds to the rain

that makes it invisible.

Also learn about Indonesian reading comprehension

Puisi (Korrie Layun Rampan)

Jalan ini berdebu, kekasih

Terbentang padang rasa

Enam belas matahari memanah dari enam belas ufuk

Siang pun garang sepanjang kulminasi

Bahak malam mengikut pelang langkah tertatih

Ketipak bulan putih di taman kekasih


Antara kerikil dan pasir merah

Tersembunyi jejak-jejak yang singgah.


This road is dusty, my darling

Spread in the field of feeling

Sixteen suns shooting from sixteen horizons

The day is fierce along culmination

The laugh of the night follows the lumbered step

Pitter-patter of white moon

In the love park

My bride,

Between gravel and red sand

Hidden the halting steps

Also learn Indonesian sentences for beginner.

The poem from Andrea Hirata, taken from his novel titled ‘Ayah’

Datangkan seribu serdadu untuk membekukku!

Bidikkan seribu senapan, tepat ke ulu hatiku!

Langit menjadi saksiku bahwa aku disini, untuk mencintaimu!

Dan biarkan aku mati dalam keharuman cintamu…


Bring in thousands of armies to arrest me!

Aim thousands of ricochets, right in the centre of my heart!

The sky becomes my witness that I am here, to love you!

And let me die in the fragrance of your love…

Sajak Sikat Gigi (Yudistira ANM Massardi)

Seseorang lupa menggosok gigi sebelum tidur

Di dalam tidur ia bermimpi

Ada sikat gigi menggosok-gosok mulutnya supaya terbuka

Ketika ia bangun pagi hari

Sikat giginya tinggal sepotong

Sepotong yang hilang itu agaknya

Tersesat didalam mimipinya dan tak bisa kembali 


Someone forgot to brush his teeth before sleep

In his sleep, he is dreaming

There is a tooth brush brushing his mouth to open

When he woke up in the morning

His tooth brush is only half left

The other half is likely

To get lost in his dream and cannot comeback

Translating novel is different from translating general document. The words should be carefully chosen so it does not change the actual meaning of the poem. If you think that my version of translation is less accurate, feel free to make your own version. Thus, may the article about examples of poetry in Indonesia could help you to master your Bahasa. Selamat Belajar!