Two poems (Circa 1967-68)

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1:40 p.m.
21 August
black hair black
cold marbled cheeks
thy lips o they stab me
thy distance o it hurts me here
where my belly knots up when I see you
and your brows and your eyes and
your ears
and slender strong arms
and slender hands

3:00 p.m.
22 August
quiet, now, content
like dragonfly asleep upon a leaf
on an afternoon pond
or perched atop a rare twig showing
above the water
quiet afternoon water shallow
amid the moss
I think of you
and am happy at your indifference.
I am content
what though my dreams
are as reflected leaves
shadowy, vague
upon an afternoon pond?
Even now I watch
one leaf
still green
plash upon the water
I do not ask, there is no use to ask,
where green dark shadows sink
at twilights’ coming.
I am content
with the reflected heights
of my sole afternoons
with only the wind upon the grass
upon dark shadowed waters
cold, yes
still, yes
and at peace
but still
there are the dragonflies
two now upon a leaf
coupled like two April skies.
air-wings a-quiver mightily with the wind
the same wind that the mosses heed not
or can not

I hear the cricket sing
O sad that leaf dreams
on an afternoon pond
could never hold a cricket-song
but must be dark and mute
while dragonflies
blue or red as April skies
Cavort like lightning upon the surface
Shaken by an afternoon wind
shaken to dumb darkness
yet quiet,
quiet and still
shadows breeding silent moss
and sunlight only showing
how so very dark it is
beneath afternoon waters.

(Ma. Lorena Barros was a student leader, writer, scholar and founding member of the women’s group, Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (Makibaka). She graduated with an AB degree in anthropology, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines in 1970. She went underground shortly after the declaration of Martial Law in 1972 and joined the revolutionary movement a year after. She was deployed in the Southern Tagalog Region. She died in a military encounter in Mauban, Quezon on March 24, l976 at the age of 28. She left behind a son. The poems submitted herein were written in her pre-activist days. For more of Lorena’s writings, visit her Facebook page under Ma. Lorena Barros.)

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