"Happy they are who keep alive the inner vision, the music that lights the world."
St Vincent Ferrer is the patron saint of my town. He is also regarded patron saint of builders because of his fame for "building up" and strengthening the Church through his preaching, missionary work, in his teachings, as confessor and adviser. His feastday is April 5, celebrated on the last Tuesday of April which is the town fiesta. He belonged to the Dominican Order (like UST), highly educated and held a doctoral degree. More about St Vincent below.
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 extols.
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 air sultry, neon light complain,
Unless the swivel chair creaks in pain, forgetfulness, and chill,
They just stand silent – these trees, river and hill.
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.
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.
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
You are a minuscule
of the Fertile Crescent,
a far cry from Euclid’s measure.
You run along the margin
of the northwestern coast,
were there are 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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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.~----------------------------------------------------
About San Vicente Ferrer (Internet)
Religious, priest and confessor,
called the Angel of the Last Judgment
23 January 1350
Valencia, Kingdom of Valencia
5 April 1419 (aged 69)
Vannes, Duchy of Brittany
Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Aglipayan Church
3 June 1455, Rome by Pope Calixtus III
Cathedral of Vannes
Vannes, Morbihan, France Bogo City, Cebu Philippines
tongue of flame; pulpit; trumpet; prisoners; wings; Bible
builders, construction workers, plumbers, fishermen (Brittany) and orphanages (Spain)