Postcard from Holland

(To Ka Presy, My Captive Comrade-Wife)


Sweet kisses and warm embraces

From me, here in a far away land

Of bicycles, canals and windmills.

I’m sorry to say

There are no mountains here

To scale, but only flatlands to thread.

Yet there are tulips and sunflowers blooming

And flocks of birds flying freely.


What scenery to behold!

But then, often suddenly,

Pain pinches my heart

For I remember you

My beloved captive comrade-wife

And four hundred and thirty more–

Comrades in various cages still

Across our country fondly dubbed

By lording foreign pirates

And their local quislings

As the “Pearl of the Orient Seas.”


Oh, how happy would I be

If you and other comrades

Would soon be free

Like these flocks of birds

Freely flying, measuring

The boundless blue sky.


                            — Ruben Abenir Saluta

                                      Revised from earlier version

                  13 October 2016

                                 Utrecht, The Netherlands

(The poet is a National Democratic Front of the Philippines Negotiating Panel consultant. He was a political detainee.)