, December 04, 2021

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Sto. Niño Among the Chisels


  •   1 min read
Sto. Niño Among the Chisels
Photo by Wig Tysmans
By Marne Kilates

It’s a bust missing a plinth
Or a medallion meant to be slung
Around one’s neck, but the Child King
Of our Belief, eyes wide with innocence
Under the crown on his head, can only
Charm us with his mischief. Here,
Among the countless variety of carving
Chisels left as if mid-work, among
The wood chips and the tools hand-worn
In their dark-brown smoothness,
He reigns child-like but imperial, gold
And radiant as the Katipunan sun
Around his head. We bow reverently
As Indios receiving scapulars and
Amulets―we wear him around our
Neck or bring his chubby cheeks
To our lips murmuring ejaculations
Taught to us by our catechists. We adore
Him with such fervor as can send us,
In festival feathers, trinkets, and tassels,
Charcoal on our faces, leaping to our
Feet, crying Hala Bira! Pit Señor!
Dancing in the streets, to the tribal
Drumbeats of our colonial Faith!


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