Monday, December 28, 2009
Twilight in the Forest
The forest, always silent, now assumes that calm
that is more breathless and awesome than silence;
the breeze dies down, the leaves cease to rustle,
the animals of the woods slink away to their lairs;
one sees only an occasional crow,
its obstreperous caw-caw-caw echoing
and re-echoing for miles around.
No Angelus rings here,
for the nearest church is a day's journey away,
down the river and along the coast,
but one does not need to hear the tolling of distant bells
to be reminded of the hour for prayer.
One must pray here,
if only to relieve the terrifying solitude,
to stay the gathering darkness.
Here one must kneel down, make the sign of the cross,
join the twilight hush that like a solemn invocation
rises above the heads of the tallest tree to heaven.
The darkness comes like a sluggish, ever deepening stream.
Imperceptibly it crawls, inch by inch,
and as it crawls it swallows everything that stands in its way,
first the towering trees, from their buttressed roots
to the high quivering leaf,
then the shrubs and the undergrowth.
No one knows that it has reached a certain point
by the sepulchral silence that follows in its wake,
for it passes all sound and movement cease,
the creaking of the stiff branches,
the scampering of the small animals under the trees,
even the wind as it hurries through the lattice of the leaves
and vines seems arrested in its flight.
Over the deep holes left by decaying logs,
the deep puddles made by the wild boar,
this stream swirls and eddies
and forms little unplumbed pools.
The hour signifies the end of the day's work,
the cessation of all the hurrying and stumbling during the day,
a chance to sit down or lie among the cool sedges
that grow near the spring, to bow your head
or rest your bowed head on your arms;
twilight is the quiet awaiting of sleep and forgetting,
the expectation of the sensation that is peaceful and resigned...
The forest always silent, now assumes that calm
that is more breathless and awesome than silence.~
This piece was lifted from Convict's Twilight, by Dr Arturo B Rotor, and arranged in poetry form. The narrative beauty and musical language used by the author fit well with the style of a poem, although not so much with its structure. But on reciting it, following the author's purposive punctuations to emphasize details of the scenarios in romantic mood, one senses the nostalgia of the place with the ambiance of twilight. (A V Rotor)
From the The Wound and the Scar, by Dr Arturo B Rotor, 1966 Republic Cultural Heritage Awardee for Literature. Dr Rotor finished medicine and conservatory of music at the same time from the University of the Philippines in 1932. He served as executive secretary of Presidents Quezon and Osmeña during the Second World War era.