• 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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