The barren battlefield before me was once
a conflagration that fumed against abuse
three centuries before a medicine man wrote
pain in volumes so eloquently told
they caused his exile and subsequent execution
on the blood-moistened ground
where his death-wish signaled a revolt,
albeit brief. Was it not the first and finest
heroism of a rebel, who, by treachery, was shot,
post haste abandoned, so like the apathy today
against the honor we have yet to own?
I am a wounded warrior
wearing the scars of combat against my own
grief at the flickering embers of a future non-fulfilled,
caught between the present and what should have been
had I unleashed my sword and sliced open every heart
that did not know the meaning of love for one another
as the credo of every soul’s salvation beyond
inordinate non-heroic lives.
Would that we engage in a confrontation of pain
each to one’s weapon of hurt, one’s armament of agony,
suffice to stand with all our wounds, expressing which among
our deprivations would find relief and offer incantations
for deliverance, for the fullness of restitution to recede
the unsayable sufferance to nothingness, to bliss.
Would that our longing for answers to our supplications,
lying prostrate after so many years, be hastened exhaustively
because we have wanted it, because we are so wounded.
A wounded warrior I am, voiceless, after many nights
noise-filled with lamentations, my spirit adrift,
pensive, and frayed, my silence uneasy as though
to make a sound is an enemy I cannot place myself
beside it if it were necessary to be still one moment more.
*Rita B. Gadi is a Palanca awardee, National Centennial Epic Poem Awardee, former Editor of ‘The Philippine Chronicle’ and ‘Good Morning, Philippines,’ former broadcast journalist; now weaving words, still.