Poems of an Old Warrior

Old Warrior

I first heard of Nestor Maniebo Pestelos in connection with his work on a computer program for mapping poverty and development in Bohol. Since then I have followed his development work, mainly through his updates on Facebook.

Recently he has been posting poems from a book of poetry he plans to publish this year. I encouraged him to do Bisaya translations along the lines pioneered by Pete Lacaba called SalinAwit. Pete takes English songs and composes Tagalog verses that capture the spirit of the songs, sometimes translating literally, sometimes not. Borrowing from the DepEd vocabulary about the alternative learning system, SalinAwit verses may not be equivalent, but comparable.

Tonight, I read his lead poem which I call the “carrier single” in an album of songs. On impulse I did a SalinTula.

OLD WARRIOR

by Nestor Maniebo Pestelos from the book, Old Warrior and Other Poems

This old warrior now sings

of hope and redemption.

vanquished in an encirclement

of militant verbs and phrases,

he the defeated warrior now sings-

Gone are the trenches

filled now with yam and other root crops

of war exploits and familiar tall tales

Gone are the nightly vigils

for cities surrounded from the hills

of vast armies and dwarfs sprung from the earth

Gone are the songs to accompany poem-bullets

for those shy maidens and village choir boys

of the enlightened multitudes singing praises to the war:

against oppression and despair

against injustice and hunger

against the rape of the body, mind and spirit

against those who poison the land, the rivers and the seas

Now, in defeat, this old warrior sings

of hope and redemption

in an empty hall of shame and evil circumstance –

Hope for the victors to respond to the songs

to offer a better world; redemption for him and his armies:

declared false prophets in their defeat, gatherers of yam

and root crops, they the vanquished warriors

who have fought in vain for their children’s dreams

Now they will be vigilant again

as the old warrior sings

of hope and redemption

in this temple of evil and shame.

Awit ng Matandang Mandirigma

 Gapi

at kubkob ng mga marahas

na pandiwa at parirala

umaawit

ang matandang mandirigma

ng awit ng pag-asa

ng awit ng katubusan

Wala na

ang mga hinukay na trinsera

Ang laman nito ay gabi at kamote

ng mga kwento ng pakikibaka

na wari’y lumang pelikula

Wala na

ang paglalamay sa dilim

tanaw ang syudad

na paligid ng kabundukan

ng malawak na hukbo

ng dwendeng umusbong sa lupa

Wala na

ang mga awit na kasaliw

ng mga balang-tula

para sa mga mahinhing dalaga

at kabataang koro

ng namulat na makapal na taong

dinadakila ang digmaan

Laban sa pang-aapi at kawalan ng pag-asa

Laban sa gutom at kawalan ng katarungan

Laban sa panggagahasa ng katawan, isip at diwa

Laban sa manglalason ng lupa, ilog at dagat

Gapi

ang matandang mandirigma

ay umaawit  pa rin

tungkol sa pag-asa at katubusan

sa loob ng bulwagang walang laman

kundi kahihiyan

at masamang kalagayan

Awit ng pag-asa

para sa mga mandirigmang

magpapatuloy ng awit

tungo sa mas maginhawang bukas

Awit ng katubusan

para sa mga mandirigmang

sa kanilang pagkagapi

ay itinatwa bilang huwad na propeta

tagadukal na lamang ng gabi at kamote

dahil nabigo sa pakikibaka

para sa mga pangarap ng kanilang anak

Magbabantay silang muli

habang umaawit

ang matandang mandirigma

tungkol sa pag-asa at katubusan

sa loob ng templo

ng kasamaan at kahihiyan

SalinTula ng Old Warrior ni Nestor Maniebo Pestelos

 

Explore posts in the same categories: Renewing our spirit, Theology of struggle

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