A DISTANT SHORE
It disturbs, a transient image
shaping a dream, intruding into
work and realities, this tiny
piece of white sand glistening
with shells polished by tidal
centuries, by human footprints still
unmarked, the truth or unreality
of its beauty, from the deck
of a passing ship glimpsed,
where the whirring of machines
is unheard, the silhouettes of skyscrapers
in mind etched by daily sight are blurred
by palm tress swaying, their fronds
whispering, voices from the depths
of new worlds emerging, banishing
worldly cares; where the air deepens breathing,
refreshes, revitalizes life and dream.
A turtle, then a woman swimming;
the years changed its shape for us.
The kites we launched from its sun-
dried top at low tide with taunts
soared high and fell hopelessly
with our vaguest dreams.
Our youth, weighed over the years
against its granite whole, changed,
inexplicably our strength gathered,
our voices with manliness toned.
Was I deaf to the fall
of the clinging barnacles
we detached from its crevices,
blind to the scrambling madness
of the fiddler crabs whose holes
we filled with sand, numbed to
the crawling despair of the snails
we upturned off their patient trails?
The coolness of its shadows
was friendlier, their silence
is our death, and of our world.
Regret is not enough, too late
for our playful innocence.
Sun and rain could not ascertain
its age, we never guessed
when the woman took shape,
its curves gentle against the horizon,
when it swam away with the tides
beyond the reaches of our ways.
Maybe it was only buried
by sand and flotsam;
we can still dig it up
even just out of memories ---
this shape of life beyond things,
this shape of us that is life itself.
There are many, these lines
of sea and sky wedded, reached
by vision, as many visions.
Seaward drawn by waves jade
on fair days, azure skies, by indigo
heavens aquamarine, rainbow-
hued at sunrise and sunset.
Landward etched by skyscrapers,
architectonics of cities towered
by imagination, on drawing boards
designed, circumscribed by
steel, concrete, roof-top fantasies.
Mountainward sculpted by
peaks, ranges, and cliffs fragmented by
tree tops, by birds in flight dotted,
mirage-like with heat, mist, wind.
Receding and advancing through
the mind's eye, this distant reality is
beyond collation of the variegated,
defying integration of its parts,
legislation can only specify its boundaries.
Being more illusion than ideal it can
vanish and reappear by relocation
only with the earth's destruction
or realignment with aided vision.
That line so near and describable, yet
distant, can not be reified by that romantic
"new horizon", a world different,
idealized with races synthesized;
even the strong can not proscribe,
even the arts can not prescribe.
Even with Atlas shifting
his load, diversity of lives congruent,
circles can only be concentric
in tangents, lines bisect into angles,
requiring sight diachronic and synchronic
varied and diverse in proximate conjunctures.
There are as many horizons
as there are visions and revisions.
TOO NEAR THE WIND
we sail too near
the wind our many
lives vortex-ward we
whirl to center calms too
short for us to live in truth
our many hopes for long
as soon again we sail
too near the wind where
life is not a dream.
At that moment the sun breaks
into light, at noon a thing
becomes one with its shadow,
twilight the dying sun embraces,
the sickle moon fills up its fullness.
The horizon is a rendezvous
of sea and sky, currents are clashes
of water hot and cold, waves enliven
lonely shores, lapping their water lines.
Time is to value wedded, the boundless-
ness of sound in space is untraceable,
light speeds through time measurable.
In memory coexists remembrance
and forgetfulness, reflexive are love
and hate, interior and exterior are not
demarcated, in refraction the physical
and the spiritual are reflexive, good and
evil interface, in poetry united by artistry.
Into living reality nature and self
metamorphose, the poet’s thoughts
and art knife through a troubled
world, capture despair, hope
and joy at edges that are moments
creating truth and beauty.
(Poems from “Of Near and Distant Shores,” translations
from the original Hiligaynon, “Nahanungod sa Malapit kag Malayo Nga Mga
Baybayon,” by Lucila V. Hosillos.)