Sunday, May 20, 2012

a poet's lament

spontaneously my songs have floated
flowed freely from my heart
songs that sing of countless joys,
songs that sing of myriad, dusty tears,
songs that glide over lusty, green plains;

they sang of comforting drops of rain,
of twinkling stars, of bubbly brooks,
of the working man's sweat,
of irresistible liquor's aroma,
of women's enchanting embraces, kisses;

yet, still, i feel too unfulfilled,
for they've remained tucked away, silent,
in the pages of an aging notebook,
unknown, unheard, by many a reader
who longs to be assured he's not alone!

and this, i know, is what a poem must be --
an assurance --
that though we are of different continents,
of diverse tongues, colors, creeds;
our navels are intertwined
our souls are connected
as the beads of a religious' rosary
as the links of a prisoner's chains.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

that big, red, beautiful umbrella

ah, the cycles of life! 

in my part of the world, may, the fifth month, is considered the peak of summer. and yet, i'm wondering now whether indeed our world had changed, for rains had come early at the onset of this fifth month. well, although this is unexpected, this is a welcome respite from the scorching heat of the past months.   i am caught off-guard, though, by the early rains,  because i still have not completed my planned roof repairs. anyway, i shall have to schedule the repairs when the day is not wet.  procrastination, this is a lesson i have time and again failed to learn.  i've kept on putting off these repair activities and now i am scrambling for an opportune time to do these.

ah, the playfulness of life!

there was this instance when my daughter was going out to run an errand for her mom at the nearest mall.  while she was about to leave, i noticed that grey, rain-filled clouds had amassed overhead.  i immediately cautioned her about this.  she assured me she had noticed the clouds too and that she was prepared.  she showed me the beautiful, big, red umbrella she was carrying.  i smiled and motioned her to go ahead with her mission for her mom.  just a few minutes after she had closed the gates behind her, the heavy, angry raindrops started falling down.  pretty soon, i heard the gates being opened again. i peered out the window.  it was my daughter hurrying back.

"father," she called, "this umbrella's going to get me wet! why, it has lots of leaks.  can you hand me our black umbrella instead?"

i handed the black umbrella over to her.  she opened it up and let the hard rains drop and slide over its water-resistant spread.  satisfied that there were no leaks this time. she proceeded out the gate again.

while watching her walk away, i had this sudden thought in my head about life's playfulness with us.  i  have many times experienced this -- i have convinced myself that nothing will go wrong, that i have considered all and have covered all and even had chosen the best means available to insure the task at hand will turn out right, and congratulated myself in advance for doing great --

and then, it happens, like this big, red, beautiful umbrella, life shows me the loopholes, the leaks, in my plans, and gets me wet and brings redness in my face for my premature celebration. 

ah, the playfulness of life! but, we have to carry on ...

Monday, May 07, 2012

the song from the birdcage

my day off again from work.  the wife noticed the piled up leaf droppings on our roof and cajoled me to gather them up and clean the roof and gutters.

 it is summer, but as we always experience it here, the fifth month is always tricky. next thing you know, from out of the summer heat, the rain clouds, without any warnings, will come, so gray looking, so heavy with rain, and soon one finds, raindrops falling, hard and mighty, like angry bursts of gunfire peppering one's rusty roof., as if trying to immediately obliterate the summer heat; like a berserk, frustrated painter, just pawing his canvas with unplanned colors being unable to find an image in his mind's eye and just decided to go ahead and paint just for the motions of it.

so i climbed the tree beside our house and went up to the roof. i braved the heat of the summer sun. armed with a broom and several large plastic bags i went about sweeping the roof and collecting the dropped leaves.  i said to myself this leaf gathering will ever continue so long as this mighty avocado tree stands here beside the house.  my brother and i had already planned on getting this tree cut down but it had grown so tall that the guys we hired to cut it down had only managed to trim it of branches and lopped off its top.  they reasoned their ropes and gear are not dependable enough to manage its weight if its great trunk is cut off. they required us to buy bigger rope sizes which up to now we have not done.

but this is not about the avocado tree. while i was cleaning, i heard this beautiful bird song. it was long and shrill and melodious. i stared around, looked up to the branches of the tree. i did not see any bird. the song went on and i listened attentively.until the song died down. i was tying up the plastic garbage bags filled with leaves i gathered when the twittering came up again. it is just a solo. no other bird sounds echoed it. i looked around again.

then i saw her. the bird. the warbler.  she was inside a birdcage. our neighbor had purchased a bird and he nailed her birdcage on the stump of the tree branch beside their veranda.  she was small and yellowish. i don't know what kind of bird she is but she twits so nicely.  she flits back and forth from the wires of her birdcage.  i know she can see the swaying branches and twigs and leaves of the tree just a few inches outside her cage but she will never be able to alight or play on them.

i thought, she might be singing of freedom.  a longing to be outside of her cage and be able to jump from branch to branch. to fly much longer or higher than the 30 or so inches of space that her cage now allows. but she wont be able to.

or perhaps, she might be singing an assurance to me not to worry that although she is caged she is happy and free inwardly. 

i know this is possible. i've read of accounts of persons who have been incarcerated and during the time of their confinement was able to confront themselves, to realize their true selves, to learn to go inside themselves and find their true worth, and was able to soar to higher consciousness despite the physical limitations. they found a different freedom.

the Masters and Sages always remind us of this -- that when we find that we are encaged birds, we must not despair.  that we must go deep within ourselves to find our true worth and be able to sing the true song of freedom --

the song of the Inner Man, the song of the Infinite, the Song Divine.