Nameless Voices before the Crossfire*

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Jan 3 2011

By Cirilo F. Bautista

Here, where conglomerated nipa huts
And milk-board shacks mushroom in
Futile attempt to avoid the punishing sun,
Where machine gods roam to the boulevards proud
And angry, we cannot claim names to tag
At our souls and corporeal soundless forms:
Alas! we are given foreigners to ourselves
After we lost trace of our shadows.
In the mad search for survival
We have fallen into firty and muddy
Esteros: we lost our names when we clung
To golden arms for help, in the hungry
Quest for bread we have forgotten our souls:
We entered black and labyrinthine trails
Entranced by sweet and mockung roses
(We made gods of our godless selves
O how we shined in the moon!)
Now we lie dark in our dark novels -
Unperceivable, shadowless, nameless
But we have come to answer Your call
(Which echoed, and re-echoed like little
Bells in the abysmal caverns of our brains);
Receive now these hearts we offer Thee -
Behold! they now glisten in the dark:
O
Give us back our shadows
(Shall we never see the Light?)
O
Give us back our names
(Shall we forever be nameless?)

*This poem was published in the Volume 32, Number 6, June 1960 issue of the Varsitarian.