A Kind of Burning

(a poem by Ophelia Dimalanta)

This is my favorite poem from Dean Dimalanta, who happens to be my former Professor in college. Here it goes:

it is perhaps because
one way or the other
we keep this distance
closeness will tug as apart
in many directions
in absolute din
how we love the same
trivial pursuits and
insignificant gewgaws
spoken or inert
claw at the same straws
pore over the same jigsaws
trying to make heads or tails
you take the edges
i take the center
keeping fancy guard
loving beyond what is there
you sling at the stars
i bedeck the weeds
straining in song or
profanities towards some
fabled meeting apart
from what dreams read
and suns dismantle
we have been all the hapless
lovers in this wayward world
in almost all kinds of ways
except we never really meet
but for this kind of burning.

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Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s La vida es sueño


 I came across this poem in the latter part of the Spanish Film Festival Program in 2008. I kept on sharing it because it’s simply beautiful.  So here it goes….

¿ Qué es la vida?, un fresnesí;

Ano nga ba ang buhay? Isang kahibangan;

¿ qué es la vida?, una illusion,

Ano nga ba ang buhay? Isang ilusyon,

Una sombra, una ficción,

Isang anino, isang kasinungalingan.

y el mayor bien es pequeño:

At ang malalaking biyaya’y maliliit pa rin,

Que toda la vida es sueño,

dahil ang buhay ay isa lamang pangarap

y los sueños, sueños son.

at ang mga pangarap ay pangarap lamang.

La vida es sueño

Pedro Calderón de la Barca (Madrid, 1600-1681)

(From Instituto Cervante’s Berso sa Metro)