Anita Patel: Hati Ini (This Heart)

Anita Patel reading ‘Hati Ini’

This heart is as tiny as a faraway star
(hard to catch hold of) – kecil hati
But don’t be discouraged because
It can grow into an elation of sunlight –
besar hati  
This heart can float joyously – like pollen dusting the
spring breeze – ringan hati or
sink like a frozen rock into icy seas
berat hati, hati beku, walang hati, hati mutu
This heart rises high like hot air from
a proud man’s lips
tinggi hati and bows low because it knows its place –
rendah hati…
This is not a precious heart
It is easily given – murah hati, hati luluh
But it can become hot with envy and rage
and eaten up by regret – panas hati
makan hati…
This heart is sometimes hard like stone
hati batu, rawan hati, hati dendam…
If not cared for – this heart can
rot away – hati iblis, busuk hati
and just disappear – sampai hati
This heart can be fearful, fretful and insincere
kecut hati, hati bercagak, susah hati…
But also filled with courage – this can be
a brave heart – hati bejar
This heart can hurt inexplicably
sakit hati – fall and break
patah hati
but mend again with kindness
and good intentions – baik hati,
senang hati…
This heart should be nurtured
in a heart to heart conversation
dari hati ke hati
with our better selves or
a loved one buah hati
This heart blossoms in heartfelt
compassion hati berjantung…
so hold this heart
gently it deserves to be observed closely
menaruh hati, memperhatikan…
And above all
Be careful with this heart
hati hati dengan hati ini…


Anita Patel is a Canberra writer. She has had work published in the Canberra Times, in Summer Conversations (Pandanus Books, ANU), in Eucalypt: a tanka journal, Pink Cover Zine, Block9, Burley Journal, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Demos Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, FemAsia Magazine and Mascara Literary Review. Her children’s poems have been published by Harper Collins. She won the ACT Writers Centre Poetry Prize in 2004 for her poem ‘Women’s Talk’ and her poetry has recently been selected for Australian Book Review’s States of Poetry ACT, 2018. She has performed her poetry at many events, including the Canberra Multicultural Festival, the Poetry on the Move Festival (University of Canberra), Noted Festival, Floriade Fringe Festival, at Smith’s Alternative and at Word in Hand in Glebe. She was the guest editor for Issue 2 of Not Very Quiet Journal.

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