By Juan Rafael Belgica Jr
Alam ng mga batong magtago
Ng gunita o kusang lumimot,
Hindi kailangang bago
At wala silang’ pagdadamot:
Saan bumubukal ang isang patak
Na nagpapabagsak sa buong bundok
Alin ang kikilalaning tatak
Ngayong umuulan ng mga tuldok?
Bato: patuloy na dinudulog
Hinihingan ng masasabi
Marahas na paghubog, pagtubog
Walang puknat, araw man o gabi:
Higpit ang yakap ng bato’t lumot,
Di nilulumot ang di nakalimot.
NAMES IN STONE
Stones know how to keep
Memory or to willfully forget,
The names don’t have to be new
And they have nothing to hide:
Where springs the one droplet
That will wear away the mountain?
What will be the sign known
And revealed now that rain is final?
Stone: all go to seek its counsel
Or its harsh will, its clinging stain.
They will not let go, night or day―
Stone and moss―in their embrace:
Deep-rooted memory gathers no moss.
(Translation: Marne Kilates
10 October 2021)
*Juan Rafael Belgica Jr is a prolific Bikol poet and lover of his native language, in such a way as he early gave up writing in English and wrote all his poetry books in Bikol. His untimely passing from heart attack is a loss much mourned in the Bikol literary community.
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