Friday, April 10, 2015

Poem for the Weekend: Jose Rizal


Jose Rizal is a national hero in the Philippines, where he advocated peaceful resistance to Spanish rule and was executed for conspiracy in 1896. A medical doctor by training, he excelled in many arts and pursuits, including poetry. Filipino school children study his final poem, "My Last Goodbye," and his two famous novels. Nearly every town and city in the Philippines has a street named after Jose Rizal. His fascinating biography can be found here.

First Inspiration

by Jose Rizal (1861-1896)

Why falls so rich a spray
of fragrance from the bowers
of the balmy flowers
upon this festive day?

Why from woods and vales
do we hear sweet measures ringing
that seem to be the singing
of a choir of nightingales?

Why in the grass below
do birds start at the wind's noises,
unleashing their honeyed voices
as they hop from bough to bough?

Why should the spring that glows
its crystalline murmur be tuning
to the zephyr's mellow crooning
as among the flowers it flows?

Why seems to me more endearing,
more fair than on other days,
the dawn's enchanting face
among red clouds appearing? 

The reason, dear mother, is
they feast your day of bloom:
the rose with its perfume,
the bird with its harmonies.

And the spring that rings with laughter
upon this joyful day
with its murmur seems to say:
"Live happily ever after!"

And from that spring in the grove
now turn to hear the first note
that from my lute I emote
to the impulse of my love.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful - the impulse of his love.
    Terrible to know such a sensitive human being was executed.


"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka