Sunday, January 08, 2006


I am called"Balikbayan" because the girl in me is a country of rope hammocks and waling-waling orchids -- a land with irresistible gravity because, in it, I forget the world's magnificent indifference- from the poem, "Corolla", Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole by Eileen Tabios

Poetry, I find, is like a magnet that pulls and pulls the reader back again and again to read and reread, to savour the taste of words the poet has used, to puzzle over what is said and left unsaid. Rereading Eileen's poetry, these lines from Corolla resonated in me, so that I found myself writing this response.


We will know you as our own
even if you speak
with an accent
that says
you have not visited
our shores for a long time.

We will know you by the way you smile
by the color of your eyes
by the kinship of spirit
that transcends
the outward shell.

And even though you exude
the perfume of shores we will never see
still we will know you
and we will embrace you

we are bound by
calling to blood

by this collective memory
we have
of our forefathers
struggling side by side
offering themselves
so that we might live

this dream they dreamed
for us...


**oh, I get so homesick sometimes


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