This Burden on our Shoulders

PEOPLE’S BURDEN. A member of a leftist urban poor group bears a symbolic bamboo cross on his shoulder on which hangs a sign demanding the resignation of the President as he and other activists rally in front of the LTA building in Makati, owned by the family of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, as part of their ‘Bwisita Ahensya’ (Pestilential Agencies), a play on the Lenten tradition of visiting churches. R. Zamora, Inquirer, March 12/08

This beast's burden on our shoulders
is a flawed prayer for more of the same
so a ruined revelation could be
a genesis without the grace:
a pitiful end this, the beginning
of a revolt in the streets,
the walls seeing all that which
is to be witnessed
like a new morning for us all,
the bright morning with its promise
of light streaking through the forest
of our dark mountains, those
we keep in our soul because
there is nowhere else to keep.

Our shoulders will not be lean,
our minds not mean but loving
to imagine what good life is.

There is ease in understanding
what makes us happy:
the wee hours of the morning
with their gift of dew on the blades
of ti leaves, green for the fung shui
luck of this year's of the rat
and the rotten, red to drive away
the evil in those who keep us
hungry for what good food
for the nation's soul could give:
the strength to shout out loud
and say "Down with those who
sell us to the future we do not know!"

We look back at the fragility of the dew
and the diamond revolutlion in its bosom
it grows: its circle running in circles
and our hopes are all in there,
in this fragile bubble
where there we dance
all throughout our raging days and nights
the movements of warring bodies, ours,
with the universes of our rebelling hearts,
we, the community of dreamers,
we, the community of poets
in the name of the merciful hands
that shape the clay of our country's
breath, the flesh of our cares,
the skeleton of our lives--
from all these that make us sit up
and see for ourselves
what the full moon, red and fiery, wants
from our brokenness--in the name
of all those who need rice
those who need justice with that rice
those who need democracy with that rice
those who need equality with that rice
in the name of all those who sing the anthem
to our freedom whose lyrics we have lost
in the battlefields

We can carry on, we carry on
with the conversation with the fugitive words
of our homeland: those through which we seek truth
from the feet of stones looking like water
or the breast of water looking like stones.
There is much irony here,
and they come to stay: biding their time,
as always, until they shall connive with our freeing words,
initially our honest whispers to the north wind
consorting with the saving suns of our eyes.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI
Mar 12/08

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