Sunday, June 01, 2008


by Edith L. Tiempo

How strange to hang suspended―
Our boat sitting on the water
Is a point in space;
Up, down, and around:
A deepness and a vastness of blue.
The soul flees its suspension
In upward tropism to the light;
Divinity in the heavens
Required no less: Lift,
Fly, elevate; the sky is ever
The hovering home.
Still, we transcend in nostalgia and in loss,
Foreswearing the earth,
Its mud, trees, color, its unyielding mass
And all that the body knows of heat and life;
So arch down and around, us, sky,
Blue sphere that is infinite height,
Infinite depth.
Wrap all of earth around:
Here, where water is heaven, fallen,
Water, no more a reference for earth.
Blue in the deep is permeable,
A membrane we can fall into;
Who needs the upper regions now?
Curved world of heaven under water,
Keeper of ultimate promises,
Vessel of the ceaseless mortal
Dreaming of foreverness,

Below the frail suspended hull,
Far below the swaying outriggers,
And the caulked and barnacled bottom―
Hoarding now man’s peace and his salvation,
The sky―deep, and inverted―waits.

May 10 marked the first weekend for the fellows of the 47th National Writers Workshop and that day, I led them to conquer the Twin Lakes: Balinsasayao and Danao. I know that this secret wonder of our island will always inspire artists for it is a spiritual journey to go on a boat ride around the lake or take a trek around Balinsasayao towards Lake Danao.

At the Twin Lakes, nature’s poetry runs with lines of peace and healing. Arlene Yandug of Xavier University wrote a poem after the trek:

Along the edge between you and the forest
I tread the silence-worn path of stones.
Stones precariously linked like my verses….

I have been here so many times but each visit is amply rewarded by gifts of inspiration. My artist friend, the late Kennedy Rubias, lived here for many months but he never got to any point of boredom. In fact, it was here that he created on canvass a kubo on an endless expanse of green – an image of joy, and a rare piece. We all know that Rubias’ brushstrokes were always dark and bloody.

From the same journey with the fellows, I made some lines of introspection and asked one of the fellows, Lawrence Bernabe of UP Visayas, to finish what I begun. My poem Coming Home now has a sense of completeness when Lawrence worked to give it a second stanza:


Navigate the self for the second time:
Let the painted carapace melt like a mirror
Rafting into its river of faces and stories.
Relieve the humbled feet in still water.
On an unnamed rock, the green is blue
When the drowned end
senses the mossy comfort
The innocence of beginnings becomes
A new point of departure.

On an unnamed rock, the blue and the green
Becomes the mossy ground I stand on.
When I stepped into the river
(My feet never more sure of the cold)
The water carried me home.

The journey to the Twin Lakes and other wonders like the walk under lines of acacia trees, the wisdom from the Bleeding Heart dove in CENTROP, poetry and music at The Catacombs, the blue dream in Antulang, the frolic in Bacongham, the pan de sal siesta in Bravo Golf, nostalgia in Café Antonio, Hayahay reggae, high life in Atelier Aguila, stories on canvass in Mariyah Gallery, The
Forest Camp’s coolness, the green wall in Sariland, the mild rafting in Amlan’s Alma
Riverside and the crossovers to Apo Island, Siquijor, and many more – all these help define the uniqueness of Dumaguete’s National Writers Workshop, the nurturing institution of Philippine Literature with founder National Artist Edith Lopez Tiempo and daughter Rowena Tiempo Torrevillas as anchors. I consider the workshop’s return to the English and Literature Department of Silliman University as destiny as it moves towards its 50th year.


Anonymous said...

the poem is so broad for a grade 4 student like me! i can't undrstand! u should have use simlpe words! ok?

Anonymous said...

as i read it, my head aches!!!!! REALLY! :(