Friday, January 30, 2015

Sunrise on the Farm (10 Anecdotes)

Sunrise on the Farm (10 Anecdotes)
Dr Abe V Rotor

Children fishing, painting by AVRotor

1.  Eugene and I nearly drowned in a river.

There was a friendly man who would come around and dad allowed him to play with us.  People were talking he was a strange fellow. We simply did not mind. He was a young man perhaps in his twenties when Eugene and I were kids in the early grades in San Vicente.  

One day this guy (I forgot his name) took us to Busiing river, a kilometer walk or so from the poblacion. The water was inviting, what would kids like best to do?  We swam and frolicked and fished, but then the water was steadily rising so we had to hold on the bamboo poles staked in the water to avoid being swept down by the current. I held on tightly, and I saw Eugene doing the same on a nearby bamboo pole.  

The guy just continued fishing with his bare hands, and apparently had forgotten us. Just then dad came running and saved us.  We heard him castigate the fellow who, we  found out that he mentally retarded that he didn’t even realized the extreme danger he put us in.
 happen - the pharaoh kissed Alexander’s feet.  The great warrior died before he was 33.
    
2. Manong Bansiong, the kite maker

Kites always fascinate me, thanks to Bansiong, nephew of Basang my auntie-yaya.  He made the most beautiful, often the biggest kite in town.  His name is an institution of sort to us kids.  But remote as San Vicente was, we had the best kites and the town was also famous for its furniture and wooden saints.

Manong Bansiong made different kites: sinang-gola, sinang-cayyang, sinang-golondrina (in the likes of a bull, a bird with outstretched wings and legs, and a maiden in colorful, flowing dress, respectively).  His kites were known for their strength, stability, beauty, and their height in the sky.  In competitions he would always bring home the trophy, so to speak.

Because of Manong Bansiong I became also a kite maker of less caliber, but being an endangered art there is not much variety of kites flying around. The kites I make are not common, and they probably exude the same feeling to kids today as during our time.

I made kites for my children when they were small.  Kites fascinated my late first-born son, Pao. It was therapy to his sickly condition. We would sit down together on the grass for hours holding on to the kite, the setting sun and breeze washing our faces. 

Kite Season Mural, by AVRotor

When my youngest, Leo Carlo, took part in a kite competition at UST, I helped him with the sinang-cayyang.  It did not win.  But in the following year and the year after Leo Carlo became the consistent kite champion of UST, and so he carries on the legend of Manong Bansiong. 

3. I shot an arrow into the air and it fell on a newspaper

I must have been 4 or 5 years old. Dad was reading Manila Bulletin on a rocking chair.  I was playing Robin Hood. Since our sala is very spacious (it has no divisions), anything on the ceiling and walls was a potential target. But something wrong happened. In physics a crooked arrow would not follow a straight line, so it found an unintended mark – the center of a widespread newspaper.  

The arrow pierced through it and landed on my dad’s forehead, almost between his eyes. He gave me a severe beating with my plaything as he wiped his forehead, blood dripping. I did not cry, I just took the punishment obligingly.  Dad must have seen innocence in my eyes.  He stopped and gave me a hug. 

4. I shot my finger with an airgun.

I bought an airgun from Ben Florentino, a classmate of mine in high school at the Colegio de la Immaculada Concepcion (CIC Vigan) for fifty pesos, a good amount then, circa  1955.  I was loading the pellet, when I dropped the rifle, and on hitting the ground, went off.  The bullet pierced through the fleshy tip of my left forefinger. I tried to remove it but to no avail, so I went to the municipal doctor, Dr. Catalino Lazo. There was no anesthesia available, and when I could no longer bear the pain, he simply dressed the wound and sent me home.  

My wound soon healed, and the lead pellet was to stay with me for the next five years or so, when I finally decided to go for an operation. Had it not been for my playing the violin, I would not have bothered to do so.  And it was providential. 

Dr. Vicente Versoza, our family doctor in Vigan, performed the operation.   A mass of tissues snugly wrapped around the pellet, isolating its poison. He told me I am lucky. There are cases of lead poisoning among war veterans who bore bullets in their bodies. I remember the late President Ferdinand Marcos.  Was his ailment precipitated by lead poisoning?   
  
5. The Case of the Empty Chicken Eggs


Soon as I was big enough to climb the baqui (brooding nest) hanging under the house and trees.  I found out that if I leave as decoy one or two eggs in the basket, the more eggs you gather in the afternoon. Then a new idea came. With a needle, I punctured the egg and sucked the content dry. It tasted good and I made some to substitute the natural eggs for decoy.

Dad, a balikbayan after finishing BS in Commercial Science at De Paul University in Chicago, called us on the table one evening. "First thing tomorrow morning we will find that hen that lays empty eggs.”

It was a family tradition that every Sunday we had tinola - chicken cooked with papaya and pepper (sili) leaves. Dad would point at a cull (the unproductive and least promising member of the flock) and I would set the trap, a baqui with a trap door and some corn for bait. My brother Eugene would slash the neck of the helpless fowl while my sister Veny and I would be holding it. The blood is mixed with glutinous rice (diket), which is cooked ahead of the vegetables.

That evening I could not sleep. What if dad’s choice is one of our pet chicken?  We even call our chickens by name. The empty eggs were the  cause of it all, so I thought.

In the morning after the mass I told dad my secret. He laughed and laughed. I didn't know why. I laughed, too. I was relieved with a tinge of victorious feeling. Thus the case of the empty eggs was laid to rest. It was my first “successful” experiment.

In the years to come I realized you just can’t fool anybody. And by the way, there are times we ask ourselves, “Who is fooling who?”

6.  I can “cure” a person who is naan-annungan.

An-annung is the Ilocano of nasapi-an. Spirits cast spell on a person, the old folks say. The victim may suffer of stomachache or headache  accompanied by cold sweat, body weakness or feeling of exhaustion.

Well, take this case.  It was dusk when a tenant of ours insisted of climbing a betel, Areca catechu to gather its nuts (nga-nga). My dad objected to it, but somehow the young man prevailed. 

The stubborn young man was profusely sweating and was obviously in pain, pressing his stomach against the tree trunk. Dad called for me. I examined my “patient” and assured him he will be all right. And like a passing ill wind, the spell was cast away. Dad and the people around believed I had supernatural power.

There had been a number of cases I “succeeded” in healing the naan-annungan But I could also induce – unknowingly - the same effect on some one else.  That too, my dad and old folks believed.  They would sought for my “power” to cast the spell away from - this time – no other than my “victim”.  What a paradox!  

When I grew older and finished by studies, I began to understand that having an out-of-this-world power is a myth. I read something about Alexander the Great consulting the Oracle at Siwa to find out if indeed he is a god-sent son. “The Pharoah will bow to you, ” the priestess told him.  And it did 

7. Paper wasps on the run! Or was it the other way around?

This happened to me, rather what I did, when I was five or six - perhaps younger, because I don’t know why I attack a colony of putakti or alimpipinig (Ilk). It was raw courage called bravado when you put on courage on something without weighing the consequences. It was hatred dominating reason, motivated by revenge. 

I was sweeping the yard near a chico tree when I suddenly felt pain above my eye. No one had ever warned me of paper wasps, and I hadn’t been stung before. I retreated, instinctively got a bikal bamboo and attacked their papery nest, but every time I got close to it I got stung.  

I don’t know how many times I attacked the enemy, each time with more fury, and more stings, until dad saw me.  I struggled under his strong arms sobbing.  I was lucky, kids my size can’t take many stings. There are cases bee poison can cause the heart to stop. 

 8. Trapping frogs

It was fun to trap frogs when I was a kid. I would dig holes in the field, around one and one-half feet deep, at harvest time. Here the frogs seek shelter in these holes because frogs need water and a cool place. Insects that fall in to the hole also attract them. Early in the morning I would do my rounds, harvesting the trapped frogs.  

Frogs are a favorite dish among Ilocanos especially before the age of pesticides. The frog is skinned, its entrails removed, and cooked with tomato, onion and achuete (Bixa orellana) to make the menu deliciously bright yellow orange.

9. Getting drunk at an early age.

I was already a farmhand before I was of school age, but dad always warned me not to be an aliwegweg (curious at doing things), the experimenter that I was. One morning as dad went on his routine, first to hear mass in our parish church just across our residence farm, I went down to the cellar with a sumpit (small bamboo tube) to take a sip of the sweet day-old fermenting sugarcane juice.

 I didn't know that with a sip too many one gets drunk. And that was precisely what made me feel sick, but 1 did not tell dad. He called a doctor to find out what was the matter with me. When the doctor arrived he found me normal. What with the distance from Vigan to San Vicente - on a caleza (horse-drawn carriage)? But the doctor was whispering something to dad.

Then it happened. Dad had left for the church, so I thought. I went to the cellar and as soon as I probed the sumpit into a newly fermenting jar and took a sip, someone tapped my shoulder in the dark. It was dad!

Imagine the expression of his face (and mine, too) in the dark. I sobbed with embarrassment while he took a deep sigh of relief.  

Since then the doctor never came again. And I promised never to taste my “beverage" again.

10. The caleza I was riding ran over a boy.



Basang, my auntie yaya and I were going home from Vigan on a caleza, a horse carriage. I was around five or six years old, the age children love to tag along wherever there is to go. It was midday and the cochero chose to take the shorter gravelly road to San Vicente by way of the second dike road that passes Bantay town. Since there was no traffic our cochero nonchalantly took the smoother left lane fronting a cluster of houses near Bantay. Suddenly our caleza tilted on one side as if it had gone over a boulder.

To my astonishment I saw a boy around my age curled up under the wheel. The caleza came to a stop and the boy just remained still and quiet, dust covered his body.  I thought he was dead.  Residents started coming out. I heard shouts, some men angrily confronting the cochero. Bantay is noted for notoriety of certain residents. 

Instinct must have prodded Basang to take me in her arms and quickly walked away from the maddening crowd.  No one ever noticed us I supposed. 

Waterhole and Other Poems

"I walked the bridge to its far end and beyond,
And down the river to the sea I cast my pole.
It was a fight I fought, it was no longer game,
And it was neither fish nor dream I caught."
AVR


Dr Abe V Rotor 

 Waterhole

Memories come easy on this foot bridge
Many years ago I built across a stream,
Stream in monsoon and pond in summer,
Alug, as the old folk call it – waterhole.

It was my waterhole, I saw the world in its water;
Images of airplanes cruising, birds migrating,
Clouds in many patterns, many faces and hues,
The arena of wit and skill, fishing for hours.

And fishing not for fish but dreams,
Dreams about far places, of beautiful things,
Dreams almost real, even as they fade away
In ripples and into the dusk.

One day I woke up and found my waterhole
Swallowed up by floodwater from the hills.
Washing away the air castles I built,
And down its path it took summer away forever.

I walked the bridged to its far end and beyond,
And down the river to the sea I cast my pole.
It was a fight I fought, it was no longer game,
And it was neither fish nor dream I caught.  

            Fallow

When I was a boy I would walk the empty fields
       when harvest was over
And watch the maya glean on the leftovers
       like the old women
In the paintings of Millet and Brueggel
       which inspired Amorsolo
To paint the ricefields with the richness
       of Rembrandt’s colors.

And I would roll up the straw mulch
       and catch the aestivating frogs,
Now brown instead of green for they mimicked
       the surrounding they were hiding in:
Geometric deep cracks where the soil
       was fertile and rich in humus,
For they yielded larger and fatter catch.

And I knew the alug, the depression
       where the water receded,
Harboring dalag encrust in its muddy deep
       ready to spring to life
With the crayfish and snail and catfish
       likewise ensconced,
When the first true rain comes in May
       or April if monsoon is early,
I, too, would doze on my pet carabao lazily browsing,
       its body as lean as the plants in summer.

Then the afternoons became cooler each day,
       the dragonflies hovered lower and in hordes.
Distant thunder were heard getting closer and closer –
     Until the winds hissed
And the whole sky fell into downpour.

The fields began to wake up from deep slumber
       and I knew summer is over.
Fallow is a season of reflection, an experience
       shall always remember. ~

                                                        Masks
Ann, Leo and Matt, are they?

Could you be as serious as your looks,
     Or as weird as your thoughts?
Could you be my children,
     Or those of a beast or alien?

Mask, mask, mask,
     You hide the truth
Like the rind of a fruit.

           Cariton

Mount the cariton, my father wouyld say,
     When it was harvestime ,
And I would go and get our palay share,
     But the joy is in the ride, the fields,
And talking to the beast like Daniel,
     Or Hercules at times.    

The sugar cane and yam on the way
     thinned every time I passed,
The wild pigeons were getting shy
     every time I missed with my slingshot;
But not the maya,
     they came by army and were not afraid,
Even if the cariton had not had any greasing
     for some time.

I kept sentry on my rama until the mudfish,
     ar-aro, gurami, and catfish
Were big enough, or the water had receded,
     whichever came first.

The cariton was my chariot and truck,
     my canoe in monsoon flood,
My spaceship to the stars, my traveling home;
     jute sacks were also for mat;
A clay pot on three stones made a kitchen,
     plates of banana leaves.

My bolo was knife, shovel, saw, weapon
     that go with the cariton.
There was no computer then but Labang,
     the bullock knew the lipit very well,
Giving me confidence to sleep and to dream,
     waking up only at my destination,
Or when he gives the signal, kicking off flies,
     or snorting against smudge
Trained against our trees to flower
     early or on time.

Years, many years had passed, and I,
     with this story to pass on
To my children dreaming on my lap
     listening to it more like a tale,
Said, “It is true, but that was many,
     many years ago.”
One day in a museum I saw something
     for whatever reason.
 “Look, there!” I gathered my children.
     It is an old, old cariton. ~
         

                          Transience of Childhood 
                                                        Painting (15.5 ft x 5 ft) by AV Rotor



This is a beautiful world to the young,

Faces grow on clouds and kites fly high,
In kaleidoscope against the setting sun. 
The trees sing and nests sweetly cry.

If for all the fish and the Siberian breeze, 
The fields are still, save a songbird,
The clock comes to a stop in hammock’s ease -
But a chime yonder is urging to be heard.

Not enough is summer, transient is the game; 
It starts with glee and ends with a sigh,
And childhood ends. But never is the aim 
Of the sky to make the little ones cry.

Freud and Thoreau – these great minds foresaw
What makes a man, the child of years ago,
Sitting by the pond or climbing on a bough,
His kite rising to heaven’s glow.

Painting presented to Mayor Jose Tabanda III by Dr. Abercio V. Rotor,
as a remembrance of happy childhood, the impressions of which are indelible
even to those who are far away from their beloved hometown. May 23, 2005


Home, Sweet Home

Home is laughter and music, prose and poetry;
Home is forgiving, rejoicing, celebrating.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Brick House, acrylic by AVR


Home, Sweet Home
By John Howard Payne
Music by Henry Rowley Bishop (1786-1855)
(Arranged for the violin and piano by Henry Farmer)

‘Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.
Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home!

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
O, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singingly gaily, that came to my call –
Give me them – and the peace of mind, dearer than all.
Home, Home sweet, sweet Home.
There’s no place like Home! There’s no place like Home!

Home Sweet Home is one of my favorite pieces on the violin. My daughter would accompany me on the piano in my lectures, and on one occasion, in a concert. The arrangement made by Henry Farmer is made up of three variations revolving on the popular melody of the song. Home Sweet Home was popularized by the pioneers who left their homes in the Old World and settled in the New World - America.

One of the lessons I discussed lately on the school-on-air program - Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid - is about home and family. It was one of the liveliest lessons ever conducted on air with many enthusiastic callers who shared their concepts and views about a happy home. Here is a short list.

1. Home is a roof for everyone, residents and guests.
2. Home is a wall with large windows that let the sun and the breeze in.
3. Home is where fish in the aquarium sparkle in the morning’s sun.
4. Home is a baby smiling, of children playing.
5. Home is a faithful husband and wife.
6. Home is a “place for everything and everything in its place,” but not always.
7. Home is dad and mom waiting for us from school.
8. Home is a workshop for hobbies and inventions.
9. Home is where our dog lies on the doormat waiting for its master.
10. Home is a litter of puppies and kittens.
11. Home is a rooster crowing, nature’s alarm clock.
12. Home is a house lizard’s crispy announcement of a guest coming.
13. Home is a frog croaking in the rain.
14. Home is a safari of wildlife – from insects to migratory birds.
15. Home is a warm embrace of a cat.
16. Home is a cup of coffee, a sip of wine, a newspaper.
17. Home is a warm bath, a cold shower, a bath tub.
18. Home is National Geographic, Time Magazine, Daily Inquirer.
19. Home is ripe tomato, succulent radish, dangling stringbeans,
20. Home is a brooding mother hen in her nest.
21. Home is fresh eggs everyday.
22. Home is the sound of birds and crickets.
23. Home is the sweet smell of flowers, falling leaves, swaying branches in the wind.
24. Home is the sweet smell of the earth after the first rain in May.
25. Home is a singing cicada in the tree.
26. Home is a swarming of gamugamo in the evening.
27. Home is a sala too small for so many friends.
28. Home is a cabinet of books, a study table, a computer.
29. Home is Beethoven, Mozart, Abelardo, Santiago.
30. Home is Charlotte Church, Josh Groban, Sharon Cuneta.
31. Home is Amorsolo. Picasso, Van Gogh.
32. Home is potpourri of appetizing recipes, of the proverbial grandmother apple pie.
33. Home is pinakbet, lechon, karekare, suman, bibingka.
34. Home is a garden of roses, a grass lawn to lie on.
35. Home is an herbarium of plants, a gene bank.
36. Home is home for biodiversity, a living museum.
37. Home is doing repair that has no end.
38. Home is disposing old newspapers, bottles, metal scraps, used clothes.
39. Home is a midnight candle before an exam.
40. Home is a shoulder, a pillow, to cry on.
41. Home is Noche Buena.
42. Home is fireworks on New Year.
43. Home is general cleaning on weekends.
44. Home is a soft bed that soothes tired nerves and muscles.
45. Home is a fire place, a hearth, which takes the cold out of the body and spirit.
46. Home is a Prodigal Son returning, Good Samaritan.
47. Home is a round table where thanksgiving prayer is said.
48. Home is laughter and music, prose and poetry.
49. Home is forgiving, rejoicing, celebrating.
50. Home is Angelus and rosary hour.

To sum it all, Home is Home Sweet Home.~

San Vicente, My Hometown and other Poems


St Vincent Ferrer, patron saint of my town

 Dr Abe V Rotor

In my childhood I saw detours of footpaths
dividing the East and the West, two warring niches
where the zone of peace was the holy ground,
and beyond was wilderness – and the unknown
beyond the confines of Subec and the Cordillera,
the memory of Diego Silang, or the Basi Revolt
on old, meandering Bantaoay River.

In my youth I saw the sun sitting
on acacia stumps and on the tires landscape
but rising in dreams and visions on the horizon,
and in the wisdom of my forebears,
the old guards of your fort.

Time has stood still since then.

I come to pay homage in your temple,
and into the arms of my people, my roots;
I see the footpaths of yesteryears,
now grown and multiplied, and always fresh,
leading from the East and West,
and the many corners of the earth,
converging at your portals in pilgrimage.

Memories of My Childhood

Rain and stream end up in Sabangan
Where play the carefree and the young,
Where fish and carabao are but one,
And dreams are far, far beyond.

Childhood is when nobody misses
The morning before the sun rises,
Before the herons stake the fishes,
While the birds sing in the trees.

Frogs don’t croak at the kingfisher;
Rain is read from a friendly dragonfly;
Nests are secrets only to the finder –
These lessons are joy to live by.

War is solved in kites and fishing poles,
In hide and seek and barefoot races;
Faith is in the seasons the sky extolls.
And all virtues friendship embraces.

Peals of thunder break the afternoon
Driving the fowls early to their tree;
The boys catch the raindrops. And soon,
Across the field, dash for home aglee.

Summer is short, rainy days are long,
But it is only a passing imagery,
For the young can’t wait, and all along
The years are gone, but a blissful memory.

Long had Freud and Jung foretold
The man is the child of many years ago;
What the seed was and how it grew –
Lo, behold, it is true.

A Place Time Forgot

They just stand silent – these trees, river and hill
The water beams the color of the sky, of autumn or spring,
The breeze clings on mist, dewdrops on a train,
Dying beyond the thought of dying, whispering, hushing.

The seed can wait, unless fishing rods quiver and bend,
And the boys though young forever aim at another prize,
While the girls like flowers in the desert sweetly ask
For rain, and lightning flashing, mushrooms will soon rise.

But do not make haste unless the clock melts at the edge,
Hair turns gray, the is sultry, neon light complain,
Unless the swivel chair creaks in pain, forgetfulness, and chill,
They just stand silent – these trees, river and hill.

Kakawate

You get thorough shaving
twice or many times;
the poorer your master,
the more you get,

You bear the sun and rain
until you regenerate
to the joy of your symbionts,
the gecko and mantis
who, too, protect
your master’s crop.

You twist in ceaseless pain,
resulting in your weird look,
Ah, but your ugliness
is the orchidist’s delight
and your master’s luck
that may bring about
your final sunset.

Caleza

They scrambled aboard the carriage one Lent,
Breathless, sardine packed, doldrums silent.

The cochero gave a crispy note,
Nodded his lifelong, partner, mute.
The hame tightened, wood strained,
The wheels struggled and complained.

Rattan striking the spokes was horn:
Like dull sound of a xylophone,
Joining riotous shouts and laughter –
Orchestral potpourri altogether.

The past leaves remnants to the future,
New to the young, but dying bit by bit,
Flickering the last rays of old adventure,
Like the old caleza bidding exit.

                              Church Ruins

Your eyes are empty,
and you sit like the owl.
You are the shell
of a colonial past
to oblivion cast,
save your bell
pealing the essence
of the Rock
that cleanses
the soul.

                              Upland

You are a miniscule
of the Fertile Crescent,
a far cry from Euclid’s measure.
You run along the margin
of the northwestern coast,
were there arte no rivers that cross,
and lie at the heels of the Cordillera,
where there are no valleys in which to hide;
but you are a good provider
to a kind and gentle people
tanned with sweat and soil
and tempered with austere living
that speaks of their heart and art:
the geometry of functional beauty.

                                    Bullcart
(Ann and Matt in front of their ancestral home)

They wait for the buffalo
That pulls he cart
As I search the fields,
Cross the rivers,
Gaze over the hill,
Onto the prairies of old, repeating the call
that reverberates \over the plains
where a great civilization relished.

What will I tell my children
now that the buffaloes are gone?
In time they will understand.

Bagworm
on a Duhat Tree at Home

Sheepishly a caterpillar peeps,
from under a pagoda she built;
like the turtle she hides and creeps,
until she finally ceases to eat.

A Venus de Milo she soon emerges,
but without wings she must wait,
as her love scent in the air urges,
a winged moth to be her mate.

She lays her eggs in the tent,
broods on them until they hatch,
and leaves them with heart content;
soon she dies after the dispatch.

The Great Maker has shown
a biology of sacrifice and obligation:
the mother keeps the young and home
for this is the species’ bastion.

Young Musicians
Marlo, Ann and Leo at Home

I imagine young Haydn mimicked
a strolling fiddler with pieces of stick,
a young Beethoven, writing music
from birds and lambs at the creek.

In Messiah, Handel saw God’s image,
while Mozart excelled before the king,
and Chopin, the piano-poet of his age
saw neo-classic music emerging.

Happier are those who play the tune,
than he who stops at the chord,
they who keep alive the inner vision,
the music that lights the world.

Bougainvillea

Wearily I walked the dews of grassy fair,
and hung my foot to flip off the weed,
Amorseco, you degenerate spear,”
murmured I, as darkness gave up its bid.

The green sprung into life –
birds, buds, chilly air, and all;
and I, whose world always a strife,
found and shred a momentous joy.

A brook in murmuring music called
a flock which came by wing,
as my feet drew close o behold
a spray of petals in early spring.

Flowers lined to greet the world,
one half happy, the other half atear.
“Flowers, your beauty has lured
men to your side to revere.”

Beneath the petals my fingers met
to steal her beauty and hidden pride;
blood stained the thorns, and I, in sweat,
shrank in thoughts ready to chide.

Like a sword drawn to settle guilt,
I rose to strike, but shrinking
and silent, I paused, then knelt
over bougainvillea sweetly smiling.

Legume
Cecille in her Home Garden

You are Nature’s builder,
     a God-sent life-giver;
the sun and air you bind,
     feed life of all kind.

In your care the Rhizobium
     sets chemistry in action,
from the bean or Mimosa,
     to the giant acacia.

Give us our daily meat and oil
     and nourish the soil;
keep Ceres’ bounty,
     Oh, Leguminosae.

                              My Little Prince
                                                   Pao at Home

You came with the Word
To mend a broken world
In the story of a sheep,
As I, too, mended my ship;
But when at last I set to sail,
Resolve never again to fail.
You left me groping for reason
As I stared at cold gray stone.

Now my grief is gone,
Though I’ll never understand
The mystery up afar.
I know you are in your star
In the promise of your laughter
And the joy of this life after.   
                                
Old Bell of San Vicente

I have outgrown the old bell of San Vicente
          my hometown;
Its toll no longer made me sad, for my friends
          have long been dead.
Dancing on its fulcrum its sound brought
          nothing but frown;
And if Angelus is a dirge, what my fate is
          has been said.

‘Til one day I thought I saw an old gate and
          a garden covered with vine
Appeared, and I thought I heard the old bell
          and my cane fell down;
The old bell rang and danced on its fulcrum,
          its call was divine;
I climbed the belfry and through the cloud
          once more saw my old hometown.~