Tiempo Muerte, 1

LAST HAUL. “Tiempo muerte” (dead season) they call it in Negros sugar farms when workers are left idle for several months after the season’s final harvest. A “sacada” delivers the final load of sugarcane stalks to a waiting truck in Hacienda Victorias in Victorias City in Negros Occidental province. L. Rillon, Inquirer, Feb 9/09 

It is the young man 
with the haul of hurts,
the terrible truths of hunger, 
his worn shoulder blades
carrying what  the weight of years
fathers can carry to dream
past the sunsets past the neat rows
of cane stalks ready for 
the harvesting.

Today, dreams are deferred
one more time. 

Each prayer of the callused hands
is a litany of want the times
do not want to hear, not even
this whimper in the wind
not even in the night glow 
that reminds of the delicate dance
of lovers speaking of poems
only the other knew
only the other can utter
to ward off the despair
of the land coming to fallow.

The seasons are dead,
and one by one the dark hours
keep the father company
to make them keep the hope.

Tomorrow, the lands will be tilled
the lands furrowed
the rains will come
the mills will hum again what song
what rhythm can come out workers
praying for strength to lead them on
what covenant can come out of bosses
preying on the strength of their men.

A. Solver Agcaoili
Hon/HI Feb 7/09

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