MonRam, 1944-2021

March 29

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 trails.

The trees we saw are much the same
   as those that shelter our comrades
     from the sun and rain and reconnaissance planes.

Moon and 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.)


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.

–9:57 a.m.
4 August 2021
Quezon City