• Poems by Ernesto V. Epistola


    The last in the park

    Warm noon of autumn

    When we are done talking
    Of restless fickle flights of pigeons
    Circling in the park
    And of old men with half-closed eyes
    Sitting sphinx-like in the sun

    It is a delicate game for old men
    To play with bubble fragile thoughts
    Of another autumn’s warmer noon

    And of seedy men
    Playing millionaires
    With their smiles
    And of little children laughing

    I shall touch your hand
    But if no words come
    Or if I merely stammer

    About the leaves
    Being in shades of flowers
    A leaf’s ambition is to be a flower
    You will understand

    Here is the meaning of our only winter
    Only spring
    Only summer
    In the last warm noon of autumn
    When we are done talking
    Of restless fickle pigeons
    Circling in the park
    Of old men
    And of little children
    Laughing in the park

    * * *


    On Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach
    Between the dirty sidewalk
    And the noisy traffic of flashy cars
    I discovered this tiny plant

    From the very first seeing
    It was so familiar
    Though it looked just like any weed
    On the shabby strip

    Splashed by muddied water
    When it rained
    Covered with oily dust
    When it was dry

    That was early summer:
    I could not place
    Its friendliness
    But I kept coming to it

    As if it was calling me
    It seemed to glow
    Like a friend with a happy secret
    That is about to be sprungon you

    Then one day the white little flowers were there
    And amid the garish Daytona traffic
    A fragrant flood of many a cool May evenings
    Of my homeland

    Bursting into rivers
    Of gentle laughters
    Of caressing serenades
    And of small hands weaving garlands

    Tears of joy
    Tears of loneliness
    I have found another exile:
    Sampaguita in this foreign land

    I picked a few flowers and went my way
    Murmuring to myself that when I have the time
    I will dig up this tiny plant
    And care for it else where

    For days I had a fragrant bit
    Of the Philippines in my shirt pocket
    Until the gentle white flowers
    Became fragile and brown

    When finally I had the time
    I found that Atlantic Avenue
    Had just been widened and paved
    And my sampaguita plant was gone

    (Ernesto V. Epistola is a Filipino cellist and conductor long residing in Sarasota, Florida. Now in his mid 80s, Epistola is a University of the Philippines alumnus. His haiku poems have been published abroad and here in this country.)


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