This piece won 3rd Prize in the poetry-writing contest of Me(d)moirs, the literary competitions of Culture Week, organized by the Medical Student Council's Culture Committee. The theme was "Greener Pastures," about the doctors to the barrios - those selfless souls passionate about bringing medical care to the underserved of far-flung 'barrios'. Guess who the youngest contestant was? =))
Think how it is to be a sparrow:
flitting from cloud to cloud,
soaring through sky and space in search
of branch, or tree, or something,
only to find nothing, not even
the garden or the fallen apple of scripture.
Si nanay, sumasakit yung sikmura.
We could have chosen to swim through
rivers of wine, drown ourselves in
oceans of booze, hopping from island
to island, door to door, party after
party, wasted man after wasted man.
But the choice was ours to shun.
Si tatay, sumuka ng dugo kagabi.
Darkness creeps through the bamboo walls,
shaping shadows that dance on the pearly gaze
of moonlight bathing the wooden floor. Outside,
is uncertain as within this tiny room, where
my dreams have been, for fortnights, vague
and void, so unlike the revelry beyond my bed.
Si lolo, namamaga yung tuhod.
Yesterday, I met a man who has tilled the
soil for seventy years. A mother of fifteen
barely older than myself. Lovers of music
who know only of the rustling of leaves, the
chirping of birds, the roaring of the rivers,
and not Mozart or Bach or Sondheim.
Si lola, doble ang paningin.
You may claim it to be the error of youth.
Or you may look at me eye to eye, and
gaze at the depths that my vision has
conquered: passion, but not fame;
love, but not lust; happiness,
but not hearts of hatred.
Si ate, pataas nang pataas ang lagnat.
I could hardly sleep, lest the shadows
stab me with their swords. But in my solitude,
the silence sings, telling me to let the
soft breeze carry me to distant shores. You have
helped so many souls, it sings, and their
minds are now at peace. So should yours be.
Si kuya, sasabog na daw yung ulo.
Sometime in the future, I would gaze at
a fiery sunset and hum this part of my life.
You could listen to me, in my song about
rustic towns and helpless people. How I
used my own humble brush to paint an Eden
for the sparrows and create more colorful
pictures. Or you could very well be
singing with me.