(At the 17th Divine Word College Alumni Association Banquet at the Pacific Beach Hotel last May 5, memories came fllooding my otherwise tired mind. I had just done the first of the Kur-itan Series--the 3K Initiative, a collaboration betweent the Ilokano and Philippine Drama and Film Program of the University of Hawai`i at Manoa and the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline when I realized that I needed to freshen up a bit and be there at that 'regathering' of the alums of that college that has served as the wellspring of knowledge in Northern Luzon. Divine Word is my high school alma mater where I took the pre-collegiate high school program that included a high school Spanish. The memory of having spent some of my younger days at the now defunct boys high school stirred pride in me and so to the banquet I went, even if parking was many hotels away down the next block, with Atty. and Mrs. Gene Albano for garage and elevator company while we both navigated our way to finding the parking lot of another hotel.

I remember in one gathering when Jose Rizal was asked for verses--was asked to recite a poem. There is an illusion of grandeur here--and I remembered the hero when one of the emcees announced that I have been requested to recite a poem. I do not carry my poems where I go--I cannot even memorize any one of them, believe me. So I had to look for a pen, two pieces of paper I ripped off from my organizer, and there and then, infront of the guests like me, in that table close to the state's left corner, I wrote this piece and recited it. I do not know if it makes sense, as I played it safe reminiscing my days at the Divine Word College Boys High School as well. The alums at the banquets were graduates in the college and I was there recited my poem before the alums who are wiser than me. But poets are not known to get away from the challenges so I recited this piece, unedited, unadulterated. You see what you get, and written in a few minutes.)

We come to gatther
and regather.

We come to remember
the alma mater and the homeland
away from the seas and the plains
our hearts know.

Then again, it is memories
that matter
eternal times in moments
minutes in timelessness
in the hollow of our hands.

We have come this far,
so far,
beyond the waves,
tears somehow,
lines of poems
we ourselves commit
to scenes like this
this evening becoming our mornings.

A Solver Agcaoili
Pacific Beach Hotel, Hon, HI
May 5/07

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