POEMS OF JOSE MARIA SISON

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ILLUSTRATION BY PERRY GIL MALLARI

The Guerrilla Is Like A Poet

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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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