Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ha Long Has This Been Going On

The Baguio Writers Group last weekend came out with "To Be Or To Do" with the country's top poets talking about the birthing of their poems. Padma and I will be coming out with a full recount of that wonderful afternoon in the next entries. Maybe you will see some of the poems at padma's blog and also here. This is "Ha Long" by UP Baguio Chancellor Priscilla Macansantos who warned us of not wearing too many hats. She just won an award in mathematics. She has no image to accompany this poem and I remembered I have a photo in my laptop, "Ah, iyan pala yung grandeur of stone" was Luchie's remarque.


I have forgotten how to
Unburden myself,
Find release
In vast spaces
And calm, deep waters,
Seek comfort
In the quiet grandeur of stone.

In airless rooms
And enclosed spaces,
Far from the sea
And other manner of living
I have spent my days
In habits and gestures
That have lost their meaning
From sheer repetition.

And the months and years
Have left me

No longer young, nor gladdened
By the setting of the sun.

Until Ha Long
Bay of a thousand stone islets
Rising from spent coral,

Its caves revealing secret sculptures
No human hand can fashion.
There is so much legend here,
Ha Long
Of battles fought, and won,
One can almost know hope again.
And my diminished spirit rises
As stone out of water;

It is as if, like this singular place
One can be old, yet young again,

And like the bay,
Let time’s patient hands
Shape the course of this, and every life.

-- Priscilla Supnet Macansantos

* Ha Long Bay
Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam
UNESCO World Natural Heritage Area
(Philippines Free Press, July 4, 1998

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