La Vita è Bella

 

Moonlight On Manila Bay

A light serene, ethereal glory rests                                    - invokes paradise-like imagery; serene, calm
Its beams effulgent on each cresting wave;
The silver touches of the moonlight wave
The deep bare bosom that the breeze molests;
While lingering whispers deepen as the wavy crests
Roll with weird rhythm, now gay, now gently grave;
And floods of lambent light appear the sea to pave-
All cast a spell that heeds not time’s behests.                    - timeless beauty (?)
Not always such the scene: the din of fight                       - transitions from serenity to turmoil (?)
Has swelled the murmur of the peaceful air;
Here East and West have oft displayed their might;            - interlopers from the west (Spain, US) clash with Filipinos
Dark battle clouds have dimmed this scene so fair;            - what was once beautiful has now been spoilt
        Here bold Olympia, one historic night,                    - US warships; Commodore Dewey (?)
        Presaging freedom, claimed a people’s care.           - freedom granted, but at what cost?

(1912)

Cagayano Peasant Songs

And grossly that man errs who should suppose
That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks,
Were things indifferent to the shepherd's thoughts.
                                           -Wordsworth

    I

In the shady woods I know                                            - tranquil nature; fragility
Where the bashful jungle fowls are keeping
Their helpless young. They are below
The trees by which the rill is weeping.                           - obligatory nature imagery; streams, trees, etc.

    II

Beneath the rapid's frown
Where the white ripples madly run,
There is where I have known
Fair itubi is courted by luran.                                        - what does the words mean?

    III

And if to me 'twere only known
Where the heron's eggs are laid
In the deep still river's bed
They were treasures rare to own.                                - laments intrusion of man into nature? defiling the environment?

(1912)

The Dreamer's Heritage

Thou dreamer of melancholy songs,
        What heritage is thine?--
The epic line in all thing's fair.,
        Its harmony is mine.

Their Eden joy and lingering pain,
        They pass into my soul,
For joy and pain have melodies
        That through my being roll.

And less than science and philosophy
        Than an immortal line
Whose notes sublime in mortal man
        May reach the man divine.

And heir am I to a sweet desire
        To charm from out all things
Truth's essence that to the spirit yields
        Themes for its murmurings:

Ah! not a rose with cankered leaves
        But claims from me a sigh;
And not a maid with a lyric grace
        But wakes a lyric cry.

What is't to gaze at a virgin's face
        And read the love that's there?
A lily seen in the dusk of dawn
        Is not more pure, more fair.

Each feeling finds an echo
        In ev'ry beauty that I see;
The music of their form, their poetry--
        A heritage for me.

(1912)