(For Ariel Tabag, for keeping the faith)
The chasm is clear like crystal.
Or hazy like incense in the censer
As we imagine in refectories unreal
With hunger and panic for not recalling
The aroma of food or blessing.
The lauds and vespers are not any longer
The same as they were in Sauyo,
Or the other sites for your worship
As in your private prayer,
The psalmic prayer that rises with the bright sun,
Or suns as you wish,
Those that go
With our committing our Gregorian chanting
With a cause,
Or The Cause with our youthful chanting
Like the days of old
In the Our Lady of the Angels,
In the fields and beyond the fields,
In your isolation and in the crowd
Of many entrances and exits
For solitaries, or clausuras for the elect.
There, in histories only the 70s know,
Or if you unearth the martyrdom of the 60s,
These were difficult times, the hard ones
If you care to remember, the times of terror
For the believer who knew
For the believer who knew better.
The word was commitment, the same ardor
You put on you verse, the one you conjugate
With love and daring and boldness to write
The poems of our loving and daring and caring.
Or missioning in a new light, ex-future act.
Or believing in an old light, ex-future act.
Sta. Teresita's poetic vision beckons
As the aroused altar
Of the dead and living God
Of the dead and living Christ
Of the dead and dying compassion we look for
In moldy pews, in the antiquity of moralities
Both official and otherwise, like the moralities
In justice and action we have lost
In genuflecting and meditating we have not done for years
In going away to a monastic site in Davila
The remorseless retreat of the Franciscans the original,
The Capuchins that see salvation another way
And the Conventuals that see seasons changing.
Perhaps you still remember the sad site
On the Ilocos shores so long
We cannot see the edges
Of sin and temptation, reason and faith
Of offering ourselves for the mysteries of light
To come and unite with us.
Aurelio S. Agcaoili
Nov. 28, 2004