I like writing sonnets ever since I learn that I could put my thoughts into verses. I used to make these 14-liners for friends who asked me to write poems for their girlfriends. I probably have written around twenty but half of them I could no longer recall.
A CHRISTMAS SONNET
Midnight smiles as people hear the bell tolls,
Each child anxiously waits for something new.
Red shirts, lollipops, toy trucks and sweet rolls,
Roller coaster, parties and drizzling dew.
Yellow lanterns swaying their lengthy tails,
Creating fictions on curious children’s eyes.
Heralds singing as the cold breeze entails,
Remembering the birth of Jesus Christ.
Ice cream, pansit, ham, were served for the night,So warm, so joyous dining together.
Thanking the Lord amidst the blinking light,
Merrily singing – the dawn comes colder.
All year round, let the fervent spirits stay,
Sanctity streams every night we pray.
(Written on December 1, 1971, for a school project. This is the first sonnet I have written. Notice the first letter of each line spells M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S. Made some revisions on December 24, 1980.)
FOR EVEN SOLDIERS CRY
In battlefields in the trembling frontier,Courage of men stood in survival’s test.
A war forced by imperialist power,
Combatants fought with unparalleled crest.
They who fear no blood, the gallants, the braves,
The forgotten soldiers who died so proud.
Far from the ruins, far from the deads’ graves,
Their love ones weep behind the curtain shroud.
In battlefields in the blood-redden hill,Courage of men stood, victory or vain.
Combatants fought with iron-hardened will.
They fought their last breath, unmindful of pain.
With their last bullets, in deep woe, they sigh;
Praying in grief, for even soldiers cry!
(Written on May 27-28, 1973, in memory of the Vietnam War.)
IF YOU SHOULD LOVE ME
If you should love me, love me as I am,
Not for escapade or some foolish game.
Love me faithful without doubt or mistrust,
And alter not my world in gold or dust,
Stand beside me in burden and blessing,
And in your mind consider me a king.
Love me in God’s witness, my soul and heart;
Love me as I love you till death us part.
If you should love me, love my reality;Love me for being frank, simple, naughty.
But if you don’t like what you hear or see;
If you are thinking of just hurting me:
Darling, I advise you to go away,
For that isn’t the manner love should portray.
(Written on February 11-12, 1976.)
TO THE PHILIPPINES
The Pearl is glowing amidst the blue sea;A new nation will unfold like the tides.
After the morn peeped comes another day,
To show the world her awakening strides.
Though the West has invaders, arms of might,
Apples, rapists, imperialist’s bazaar.
Guardians of the East are ready to fight,
Till the sky is clear and there shines a star
Oh land of jasmines, precious shells and gems;Seraphim sing ballads for you my dear.
And if by fate, history once more stems,
A man in thoughts, deeds and words gladly share
The mind and heart, gifts from the Almighty;
To you Philippines, great pride and country.
(Written on June 8-10, 1980. I was thinking of writing a poem about the Philippines before Independence Day. For two successive nights, pieces of forethoughts came to my mind like words flying inside my head, and I noted it down. Afterwards, I wrote a free verse using the items in my notes, then re-wrote into a sonnet.)
A SONNET FOR THE PHILIPPINE EAGLE
Now, I’m but a small bird dwelling humblyIn the eyrie above steeps of granite.
Bear I must, the cold, as storms threaten me.
I bow meekly, it passed, winds made to write.
Now, I’m a tiny speck of God’s nature.
Yet thousand claws envy this mortal seat.
The nest that shelters was made to endure,
For in my blood lies a power so great.
The day will come when I will soar the sky;To spread my wings, thousand days, thousand nights.
Behold! Earth and Heaven, all things that fly
Shall call me king – great monarch of the heights.
I’ll soar supreme – symbol of the Above,
Of power, justice, peace, freedom and love.
(Written on December 1, 1987)
A PIECE OF LAND
Behold at the sparrows as they fly free,But when the evening comes, they need their nest.
Think my dear friend, can you not know and see?
Even those with wings need a place of rest.
Behold at the turtles as they encamp,
And carry their homes on four sturdy legs.
Unaffected by storms, quakes, dust and damp,
But still they need a place to lay their eggs.
What more with man whom God gave the Eden?What greed is there to grab the other’s lot?
Is there a curse against man and children;
Of wealth and might over the poor man’s pot?
Social justice: Let the masses demand,
Every man’s birthright for a piece of land!
(This sonnet I remember I wrote on the night of August 8, 1989. Earlier in the day, I was with a cause-oriented group, Lupang Ugnayan, and we were helping indigent people in Quezon, who were driven out of their houses and land they were occupying for decades.)
A SONNET FOR HILDA
Look among the blooming roses and see,Has thou not visioned her fairest of all....?
Affluent lovers offer their riches free;
Hundred suitors kneel at her gentle call.
I, dearest love, what could I offer you?
I can’t give thee the stars as wizards do.
I have only my heart sincere and true,
Beset in enchantment since I met you.
Oh dearest lady, Hilda of my heart,Hear me as I tell you in these verses.
Your charm more enticing than mystic art
That in my mind forever embraces.
In all these quests in dreams and reality,
All my heart can say: I love you, truly!
(I wrote this as a present for a girl name Hilda for her birthday, but was unable to give it to her. The sonnet, nevertheless, was published on the “Reflection” poetry section of MOD Filipina magazine May 10, 1991 issue.)