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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