Harvest Vigil

Pulaw sa tag-arani                   Harvest Vigil

Pagsamput kang sirum                 When dusk comes
Mapungko kami                        We gather
Palibot sa sartin nga pinggan        Around tin plates
Sa salug nga kawayan.                On the bamboo floor.

Mahamot nga kan-un                   There's fragrant rice
Isamo sa sampudyot nga asin,         Taken in handfuls
Pus-an kang kamatis                  With salt and crushed tomatoes,
Kag laktan kang yuhum.               They go well with a smile.

Kon mabusog gani                     Once we are full
Mahumlad kang banig,                 We spread our straw mats,
Mahulat sa ugsad kag mamati          Wait for the full moon, listen
Sa paglitik kang paray.              to the ricestalks kiss the ground.

Kag sa amun katurugon                And in our sleep
Ginaisip ang kada pasi               We count every grain
Nga inugbayad                        With which to pay
Sa amun mga utang.                   Our debts.


Mga Panahon                          Seasons

Tapos run ang panahon                The season for flying kites
Kang pagtugpo kang mga burador.      Has ended.
Ang mga nabilin daw mga sikag        We can see kites like skeletons
Sa alambre kang kuryente.            Hanging from electric lines.

Kato nga maalwan pa ang hangin       There was a time when the wind
Sari-sari ang dagway kag duag        Was more generous.
Kang mga burador - daw mga isda      Kites were of all forms & colors,
Nagasibad sa dagat kang kahawaan.    Like fishes in heaven's blue ocean.

Samtang ang mga bata                 While the children
Sa langit nagatangra,                Look up the sky,
Hugut ang pagpangyaput               Holding the thin string
Sa manipis nga higot.                so tight.

Raad indi mabugto,                   Hoping it wont break,
Ukon makasab-it.                     Or the kites wont crash.
Raad indi maabtan                    Hoping the season of rain
Kang tinguran.                       Never comes.

Ugaring tapos run ang panahon        But the season for casting dreams
Kang pagpalupad kang mga damgo.      Has ended.
Ang nabilin sikag lamang             What's left are fishbones
Sa tubug kang handumanan.            Aslant in memory's throat.

About my poems

Excerpted from "In search of a voice: An introduction to myself and my poetry."

These are the poems that have kept alive my memory of Antique, a memory not altogether sweet because they speak of the poverty of the Antiqueños - a life depending so much on hope and prayers, and divine providence. In these poems we see village youths leaving the farm to work as servants in cities, sakadas (seasonal laborers) coming and going and losing what little they earn to vices, fisherfolk struggling with a sometimes not so generous sea, mananggite daily making their ritual of tuba-gathering only to savor life's sweetness in their dreams, betel-nut-chewing peasant women cleaning snails for supper. The irony is that their very poverty gives them hope and will to survive.

___________________ I am publishing a collection of these Kinaray-a poems. If interested, you can e-mail me at adsantos@hotmail.com.

Why not visit these sites, too

Back to Alex C Delos Santos Homepage: If you are interested in more of my poems, and links to a site about Antique, and other articles.
Read also my poems in English: Poems dedicated to friends, to one of my favorite writers, to memories of childhood, and to the Antiqueños
Tabig Writers of Antique: Here's a story of how a group of young Kinaray-a writers revived Kinaray-a literature
Poems by Tabig Writers: More Kinaray-a poems by other Antiqueño writers
My Thoughts & Ideas: If you want to read other things I write about