Reply to a Comrade
By Engr. Ramon P. Ramirez (+)
Last night we had a talk
in a bus filled with people
on their way home.
I talked about the moon
sailing silently on a cloudless sky.
And you talked about the trees
on the plaza we passed by.
It is the same moon
which shone upon Chingkangshan
and the Red base at Yenan.
It is the same moon
which brightened up the streets of Peking
on the first day of October
in nineteen-hundred and forty-nine.
Who knows that today
the same moon showers its glow
upon our comrades in the countryside
lighting their way up dangerous mountain trials.
The trees we saw are much the same
as those that shelter our comrades
from the sun and rain and reconnaissance planes.
Moon ang trees
though thousands of miles apart
become our allies in the people’s war —
Like Wu Kang, too, who will serve us
his cassia-flower brew.
Many years from now
we shall talk about the moon moving triumphantly
across a red sky;
we shall talk about the trees swaying
amidst red banners on the plaza we shall pass by.
We shall talk of things
that will stir our hearts
and widen our visions;
and of men becoming god.
Perhaps still in a bus full of people
happily on their way home
to the communes.
(Written by the poet in 1976.)
ENJAMBMENT FOR COMRADE MONRAM
By Raymund B. Villanueva
Unlike the moon you wrote about, I did
not know you were a secret poet
crafting paeans about the silent and glowing
orb across cloudless night skies
and shadow-throwing trees giving shelter
to comrades trekking dangerous mountain trails.
Didn’t you know we thought you were like
that moon, with your white-hair radiant as your smile
there, gleaming at the corners of our viewfinders
and flitting across our fields of vision
among the pulsating throng.
We heard you talk of dreams and triumphs–
wistfully of the region of the oragon and magayon
whence you sprung, lovingly of the bloodline you belonged,
proudly of the brotherhood you loved, ever hopeful
of the revolution you embraced.
They, all, glowed fulsome in your heart.
We shared a ride when we saw each other last.
The road was twisty and the sky was dark.
But, like that one moonlit March night long ago,
you spoke of plazas with swaying red flags.
I now know, Comrade MonRam,
it was the moon I drove home that night
to his other great love, home to his bride.
4 August 2021