• The Dream Catcher

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    (A woman from Tacloban, who lost all her four children during the super storm Haiyan, was asked how she is able to cope with her sorrow. She said, in the local language, “I dream only of the beautiful past, and continue the dream especially when I am awake because that is more important.”)

    She sings lullabies never, never to forget what
    seemed so long ago
    And almost forever in her darkness;
    how the lyrics speak of the laughter,
    the youthful shrieks,
    and the movement of a child while it was
    in her womb. Where did they go?
    Time is shattered pieces and silences.
    Sleep can be so long it strides
    under the sun no longer terrified
    to waken while dreams waft her empty brain breathing
    through her heart. She is alive this way.
    She tells herself it is, indeed,
    all a dream and then nothing
    can hurt anymore.
    Memory is not enough. She must dream.
    To think back blursthe daylight of longing what is
    more real than invented,
    more vivid than imagined, more pure.
    How one day and one night
    are simply movements in her mind
    she would not otherwise
    survive the sufferance beyond
    sufferance itself.
    To dream if we can,
    when we must, how a lamentation lifts
    the wailing to a threshold no more to gnash the anger
    or the grief. It will not be interrupted;
    it will be overwhelming
    enough to vanish the faceless moans,
    to exit softly and dissolve
    what binds us to our weakness,
    what shapes our wandering sorrows.
    To be lost and to be found,
    to be there yet not there in the frame
    of time and circumstance,
    the dream dissolves it all.
    Does she want to wake up?
    Would any urgency end the dreaming?
    Nothing exists except the world
    her mind creates one piece at a time
    because there is plenty of time to set the table,
    wash the clothes and do
    the daily feeding.
    They may have suddenly disappeared but never
    vanished in her invented space,
    in that vast horizon of color, delight
    and bliss. She occupies a silence,
    endures the incomprehensible,
    her eyes are windows of a shattered soul,
    and she survives
    in her unfathomable hurts, she dreams.
    Her children will be playing, she says;
    soon, they will be grown-up,
    her narrative continues,
    a story of a future lost and regained,
    by choice and by intent,
    shielding her with joyous beauty
    from the ugliness of her past,
    a soft smile on her luminous face.

    * * *

    Rita B. Gadi, Palanca awardee, National Centennial Epic Poem Awardee, former Editor of The Philippine Chronicle and Good Morning, Philippines, former broadcast journalist; now weaving words, still.    
        
    (Editor’s Note: We’re reprinting piece as the byline was unobtrusively omitted in the August 14, 2016 issue of STM. Our apologies.)

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