Banaue, Bontoc, Sagada – 11 of 14 Love Poems from Baha-bahagdang Karupukan and Alien to Any Skin

Rice Terraces 1996 aBanaue, Bontoc, Sagada
Agosto 1993

Hindi natin alam noon
na matatag pa sa inuupuang bubong
ng kalawanging dyip na rumaragasa
sa maputik na gilid ng Lalawigang
Kabundukan ang ating mga kataga.

Pinanginginig ng lamig at pangamba
ng paglalakbay sa bingit ng kamatayan
ang ating mga tinig, ngunit
nagpalitan pa rin tayo ng mga kuwento.
Para bang nasa matatag na lupa
ang mga paa, hindi ipinagwawasiwas
pagliku-liko ng dyip sa di-makitang
balikat ng bundok-bangin.

Banaue, Bontoc, at sa wakas Sagada.
Kapwa tayo dayuhan at manghang-mangha
sa mumunting himalang namalas,
mga himala ng kawalang-kapangyarihan
ng panahon sa daigdig na ito.
Dito nagsimula ang pagniig
nating dalawa ng mga kataga
at katahimikan.  Dito nagsimula

ang daigdig na atin pa lamang hahabiin.
Hindi pa natin alam noon.

-o-

This poem which appears in Baha-bahagdang Karupukan,  is 11 of 14 Love Poems. The following is a rough translation which I hope to improve at a later date.

-o-

Banaue, Bontoc, Sagada
August 1993

We had not known then
that our words were sturdier
than the rusty roof we were on,
the roof of a jeepney
hurtling through muddy dirt roads
on the edge of the Mountain Province.

Cold and the fear of
veering over cliffs
made our voices tremble,
but we kept trading stories.
As if our feet were on firm ground,
not being hurled from side to side
at every bend on the unseen shoulder
of the mountain.

Banaue, Bontoc, and at last Sagada.
We were both alien and awed:
time has been rendered powerless
here. This is where we started to merge
our words and silences.
This is where we began the world

which we were bound to weave.
We had not yet known then.

-o-

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About matangmanok

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry. Sometimes he tries his hand at essays and stories. 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 latest poetry collection, WINGS OF SMOKE, worldwide in February 2017. View all posts by matangmanok

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