Sunday, March 17, 2013

Palm Sunday Message: Don't Cut the Trees, Don't!

Palm Sunday Message: Don't Cut the Trees, Don't! 

Armando F. De Jesus, Ph.D.
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Letters
University of Santo Tomas

Environmental degradation, in its various forms, is perhaps the most serious threat confronting this and the coming generations. The key response to meet this challenge is environmental conservation.

Conservation is more than just action for the environment. Conservation is a new ethic deriving from a new way of understanding the environment and of man’s relationship to it. This new understanding assumes that man is an integral part of, not an outsider in, the environmental community. In harming the environment, man hurts himself. He is related to the land as a steward, not a master.

This conception of the environment lays the basis for a new environmental ethics – do unto the land as you would the land do unto you. Treat the land with request, if not with reverence.

Don’t Cut the Trees, Don’t is a collection of ecology poems and paintings of nature. The tree is taken to represent the environment. Each poem and each painting is like a leaf of a tree each revealing a little of the many marvels of this unique creation. Each poem and each painting is a plea on behalf of this new vision and of this new ethics.

Concealed behind each poem and each painting is the spirit of the author, Dr. Abercio V. Rotor, a man whose love and passion for the environment is well-known. I hope the reader will not only find delight in these poems of Dr. Rotor but will also catch his zeal and enthusiasm for nature.

Ophelia A. Dimalanta, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Creative Writing and Studies
University of Santo Tomas

What makes this poetry collection by Abercio V Rotor specially significant is its ecological slant which gives it an added dimension rarely attributed to other poetry collections. Poet Rilke reminds the contemporary poet to “get out of the house” and bond with nature. Most of the poems written today are introspective, or retrospective written in the privacy of one’s room but of one’s heart. There is nothing wrong here. But we welcome this attempt to indeed “get out of the house” and establish kinship with every creeping, floating, flying creature outside our private nooks.

It is a substantial collection, departing from the usual stale air of solitariness and narcissism which permeates most poetry today.

It is therefore a welcome contribution to Philippine poetry in English, livened by visuals that add color to the poetic images.

The oeuvre is not only pleasurable because of this. The poetic ability of the poet himself enriches the whole exciting poetic experience, a blurring of the line separating man from the rest of the living creatures outside. Every poem indeed becomes “flowers in disguise” using the poet’s own words.

Dr Rotor and family pose with Rev Fr Florentino Bolo Jr OP, UST secretary-general.

Other books of Dr Rotor published by UST: Light from the Old Arch (2000), The Living with Nature Handbook (Winner 2003 Gintong Aklat Award), Living with Nature in Our Times (Winner 2008 National Book Award), and Living with Folk Wisdom (2009). These books are available at the UST Publishing House UST España, Manila, and National Book Store, Quezon Avenue, QC.

Dr Abe V Rotor, right, receives first copy of his book Don't Cut the Trees, Don't, from Rev Fr Florentino Bolo, Jr OP and Rev Fr Pablo Tiongco OP, Secretary-General and Vice-Rector of the University of Santo Tomas, respectively, during the book launching.

Select audience at the UST Tomas Aquinas Research Complex auditorium.

NOTE: Don't Cut the Trees, Don't is made up of 170 poems, 190 pages. Available at the National Book Store Quezon Ave, MM; University of Santo Tomas book store/publishing house, España, Manila.

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