Land Worker and Landless

MANILA, Philippines -- Still landless after more than 100 days since they first set out for Manila in October last year, the Sumilao farmers will again march to dramatize their land claim. This time around, however, they will be marching in the area around MalacaƱang, in a symbolic reenactment of the Biblical siege of Jericho by the Israelites. Inquirer, 3/4/08

Would this hyperbole be a gospel
for what is yet to come to us
we people of the land
and the land we soil our hands with
always beyond us? We sing our song to the earth,
awaken its life with our sweat and cunning
and care, rain or shine, storm and sun.
We know we cannot own anything.
The wisdom of the ancestors who are dead
like Macliing's is one of deceit.
It is a lesson from his sacrifice with bullets,
he who declared, declaimed: "We cannot own
any land. The land owns us."
Sure, we know. Certainly, we know how.
We live our lives that way,
the land giving us back what we need
what we want until today
when its furrows no longer dream of us
even if we keep the dream of harvests
and kernels of corn and grains of rice
the spirit of our broken, irreparable lives.
We marched the streets akimbo, hand-in-hand
with our own public sorrows
the way we marched the fields,
the stalks the soldiers for our protection
the anitos without eyes guarding us from harm
and the nights were cold, damp, long
where we camped out to tell our people
we have gone through this hell
of giving up everything like our right
to name the potent seed we sow
the joyful saplings we stick to the earth
for the drunken breeze to billow and bare its soul
so there would be faithful flowers,
round fruits, and graced favor
we give back to the river running wild
the dancing streams coming up alive with fish,
bountiful and huge, and faith the beginnings
of more faith, and the fait accompli of the plenitude
of loves, fulfilled and full
here in Sumilao and everywhere else.
The mountains stand guard
of what we do at last. Like a sanctuary,
we might forgive ourselves, appease its heart,
and give in to the resistance rage teaches us.

They are ours, the land, and the resistance.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI
Mar 4/08

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