• POEMS OF JOSE MARIA SISON

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    ILLUSTRATION BY PERRY GIL MALLARI

    The Guerrilla Is Like A Poet

    The guerrilla is like a poet
    Keen to the rustle of leaves
    The break of twigs
    The ripple of the river
    The smell of fire
    And the ashes of departure.

    The guerrilla is like a poet.
    He has merged with the trees
    The bushes and the rocks
    Ambiguous but precise
    Well-versed on the law of motion
    And master of myriad images.

    The guerrilla is like a poet.
    Enrhymed with nature
    The subtle rhythm of the greenery
    The inner silence, the outer innocence
    The steel tensile in-grace
    That ensnares the enemy.

    The guerrilla is like a poet.
    He moves with the green brown multitude
    In bush burning with with red flowers
    That crown and hearten all
    Swarming the terrain as a flood
    Marching at last against the stronghold.

    As endless movement of strength
    Behold the protracted theme:
    The people’s epic, the people’s war.

    1968

    * * *

    The Bladed Poem

    Behold the bladed poem
    Tensile and razor-sharp
    Cold and glinting silver
    In the light or dark

    See how the blackbird
    Of a hilt flies
    Bedecked with pearls
    On the firm mobile hand.

    Look at each face
    On the leaf of steel.
    The virile subtle flames,
    Images of incised gold.

    On one face are toilers
    Varied with pike and ore,
    Crucible, hammer and anvil,
    Water and whetstone.

    Plow and carabao on soil,
    The oyster in the sea,
    Carving and etching tools,
    Bowl of acid on a table.

    On the other face
    Are the same workmen massed
    Upright and poised to fight
    Behind the radiant flag.

    The uprising completes
    The figures of labor
    And urges another surge
    With the well-versed weapon.

    Grasp well the bladed poem
    And let it sing in your hands.
    This kampilan is a talisman
    Of the people in red headbands.

    1 March 1982

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