• Sierra Madre de Laguna


    Deep in the Sierra Madre de Laguna
    One misses the spread of sunlight
    Over lake and field and village.
    The heart remembers green expanse
    Of friendships of the common folk.
    But the camaraderie of the NPA camp
    Overwhelms. Each comrade radiates
    Warmth of home. The Red Fighters
    Are brother, sister, friend in the great
    Service. How they lighten the burdens
    Of the protracted people’s struggle!
    Rain falls. It is mere slight discomfiture
    Fine-tunes balance of body and mind.
    Pang of hunger is food for the spirit
    In mountain fastnesses.

    The stars are out over the Laguna Sierra.
    I envy the tree-tops close to heaven. But
    Just a little. I settle for flickering fireflies
    Near to hand, for foxfire spread royally
    All over the forest floor, and hearthlight
    Of the peasant folk, their huts aglow
    With quiet forceful hope in the night
    Of the protracted people’s war.

    A Little Symphony for Sue
    1. A counsel to remember
    Like a star caught among branches:
    A human organization is the Party,
    All woman, all man, all creation.
    But in it and through it
    One may find her humanness
    And open up to a wide field
    Of service to the people in a
    Glorious historical revolution.
    I have no proof of this
    But this poem.

    2. When the Party of the revolution
    Reached the Sierra Madre,
    Comrade Sue followed,
    And she was sworn in.
    The stars swung above her,
    The fireflies danced around,
    And comrades ringed her with
    Mabuhay! and the Internationale.
    Would that she be always
    As tall as aspirations for freedom.
    Would that she be always
    Deeply rooted among the people
    Like this mountain range
    Of a grand revolution.

    3. Because the Party oath-taking
    Ceremony is a historic event
    We conjured a grand celebration:
    Formal wear for gentlemen and ladies,
    A thousand guests and champagne –
    But when the time came it was
    Just ourselves, a small collective
    With clear minds and real guns.
    The bread we broke was ourselves,
    Our music and poetry. No drink
    But a generous takori of tea.
    We claimed our mountain
    With the red flag, an M-16
    And a vase of purple flowers.
    The campfire burned steadily
    Like the heart of the revolution.
    In the revolution was Comrade Sue
    Newly sworn in as a Party member.
    She warmed our hearts. Ours was
    Probably a strange light in the forest.
    Only the generator sounded drunk.

    4. The poet lies in bed
    Composing a symphony for Sue
    Into the Party newly welcomed.
    He is lost in some forest
    Of no-mind-mind until
    Everything slowly disappears,
    All but

    The people’s soldier is doubly alert.
    Always. The forest stands guard with him.
    The jazz of trees, concert of bird and beetle,
    Rush of wind through leaves of mind
    And a hundred warterflows composed
    Welcome him as comrade in arms and music.
    In the pattern of people’s war they connect.
    Footfall of the enemy is clearly heard,
    His shadow is unmistakable dissonance of silence.
    At nightwatch the people’s soldier follows
    The Way of Zen and Tao undefined.
    He knows the terrain of revolution where
    The Sierra is Madre.

    Sierra Above The Pacific
    1. When at a crucial turn
    The resumed revolution
    Failed to rise to higher
    Who would lead
    Stopped to take stock.
    We reviewed ten years
    Of struggle
    To discover we were astray
    From the long road
    To victory.
    Who would lead
    Followed insurrectionism as
    A false messiah,
    And military adventurism as
    Avenging bullet in ricochet.
    In our folly we mistook
    Falling turrets for the
    Keep of State.
    Short and shallow were
    The people’s phalanxes
    Yet we dared assault
    The enemy’s inner gates.
    Black as sin is
    The tragic flaw: mass base
    And alliance networks
    Sacrificed in a fatal gambit
    In a desert field of
    Line, beliefs and choices.
    Seduced by illusion,
    Who would lead
    Would force the sun
    To rise from darkness
    Before its time.

    2. The years are winds
    Heavy on grass.
    The grass owns and consumes
    The passing pain.
    Now we travel out of
    A dark night
    Of collective soul,
    And behold anew the earth
    As keystone to the sky.
    We are back on course
    And the road is
    Protracted people’s war.
    The holding vision beckons
    And the people are regained.
    Mountains and saddles
    Of truth and error,
    Ravines of ambiguities
    Are discerned. We open
    To new affirmations
    In a time for heroes
    Shorn of hubris.
    Who would lead
    Appropriate decorum
    Of mind, heart and sense
    Before the many lives lost/
    Maimed in the civil war.
    In camps of Red fighters,
    In freedom of forest deeps,
    Mindsets explode and
    Life-force is released.
    Spillways of proletarian
    Consciousness and care
    Open to revitalize the land
    And shoots of future.
    Enough of anger,
    Self-pity and regrets
    Over missed opportunities
    To advance
    The line of march!
    The task is to strike
    Deep roots among the masses
    To muster strength like of
    Conquering daylights.
    Balance is all,
    In armed struggle and
    Mass movement;
    The united Front
    In calculated control
    Like the Sierra Madre
    Poised above the Pacific,
    Blue tango.

    (February 12, 1992)


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