Poem for What Remains of Our Rainforests


for Rose and Pete, my parents

The flower clung on to the wind,
dreaming itself a swallow.

The wind held on to the branch
and stilled. The branch itched,
bent a little and caught
a glimpse of the frog pawing a leaf.

The leaf severed its limb
and fell to the ground. The pebbles
inched a bit to give the leaf
some room to dream itself

A flower. The forest, or what
remained of it, laughed
at its children. But there
was little room for laughter.

It could not even command rain.


This was written in 23 September 1990 and was part of my first poetry book, Beneath an Angry Star (Anvil, 1992).  Even back then I seem to have been very conscious of time. The notes I have managed to recover indicate it was written 7:08-7:27 in the evening in my parents’ home. I can remember nothing of that night. This poem survived it.

I had no computer then, but I did inherit a typewriter from my sisters. Very likely I wrote this in a cheap spiral notebook about the size of my hand. No one else could read my handwriting then. People always complained about that.

Now, with my reliance on the keyboard, I myself struggle to make out what I scratch on paper just a few hours earlier. In a lot of ways I miss those times. The touch of paper. The sound of a pen scarring what was once the belly of a tree.


About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. His latest book is BLOODRED DRAGONFLIES, published by Deep South in South Africa. Check out the official blog page for Bloodred Dragonflies. In 2011 the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila released BAHA-BAHAGDANG KARUPUKAN (poems in Filipino) and ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (poems in English). The same publisher released his most recent poetry collections SOUND BEFORE WATER and KALMOT NG PUSA SA TAGILIRAN. In 2015 a new poetry collection in English, A THOUSAND EYES was released. His first collection of short stories in Filipino, SANGA SA BASANG LUPA, was released in 2016. UK publisher The Onslaught Press launches his poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. San Anselmo Publications released HOW TO MAKE A SALAGUBANG HELICOPTER & OTHER POEMS in 2019 followed by CROCODILES IN BELFAST & OTHER POEMS in 2020 - both books can be purchased through their Facebook page. View all posts by matangmanok

11 responses to “Poem for What Remains of Our Rainforests

  • God's Princess


  • matangmanok

    Thank you, God’s Princess.

    How did you find this little cave of mine?

    There are a few more poems here you are if you have the time. I always welcome feedback – nasty or nice. So grab a stone or a flower, whichever you prefer.

    Thanks again!


  • God's Princess

    Hi. I found your blog by using the “Go to a Random Blog” button. It’s at the top right corner of the screen when you are logged in.

  • matangmanok

    Oh, I’ve played with that button once too. Interesting. Let someone else (something else) decide where your ship ports.

  • God's Princess

    I’ve found some of my favorite blogs with that button! I love using it, although sometimes it pulls up sites that aren’t even wordpress. Now that confuses me.

  • matangmanok

    Good to be confused. A bit like a mild earthquake that reminds you that what you think is forever there can whip you upside down anytime. Hmm — that sounds like an old poem I wrote. I’ll have to dig it up and maybe post it on matangmanok.

  • God's Princess

    Nice metaphor!

  • ecko

    Hey Jim,

    I never read this piece. It’s lovely and sad but has much to say. Excellent poem that I believe has stood the test of time. Wrote it back in 1990? Still sounds good today and perhaps is more relevant than ever before.


  • matangmanok

    Thanks John!

    Don’t be a stranger and keep visiting. This world gets lonely without visitors like you.


  • Secretlee

    Celebrate confusion for there will be revelation. ~Anon.

    I have to go with Ecko on this one. “Lovely and sad”. It sounded almost like an echo, a phantom ache of the heart. Maybe the word I’m looking for is melancholy? In any case, its a sense of loss and aloneness.

    This is the kind of poem you write that never fails to make me cry. Yes, before you ask, it did make me cry. Gotta go get a tissue and remember that the world is a beautiful place, even if we are doing our best to wreck it.


  • matangmanok

    Glad you liked this one, Secretlee. It remains one of those poems I still can’t believe came from me.

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