Sunday, October 1, 2017

Desert by the Sea

Dr Abe V Rotor

Skeleton of tree from the watershed

Goats eat on dried bark.

Makeshift fishing station on mudflat

Where have all the fat tirem and luslusi gone,
Purong, banglot, malaga and sidingan?
Where have all the nets of the happy fisherman, 
Laden with ipon, kapiged, tulingan?
The watershed of kamantiris now bare and old,
Gone are the kakawati cut down for wood;
Mudflats sealed the river with silt untold; 
Doomed, this desert by the sea to unfold. 
The gods upstream are mute, they must have gone
To other places to feast again on the lamb;
The gods downstream rode away with the setting sun 
Disinheriting their children from the land.

NOTE: Ilokano for common species of fish (first stanza), and common trees (third stanza) growing in the area. The setting is the lower fringe of the Banaoang River that empties out from the mighty Abra River down to the South China Sea. The whole area was once a fertile fishing ground.

No comments: