Two Mindanao Poems

by Generoso Opulencia (Poetry)

(These poems were first published in the Mindanao issue of Ani in June 1990.)


for Nene

you smell
of the cogon hills of Tupi
after the burning
and the rain
where first blades
of rice seedlings
renew the burden of
that fiery star.

you smell
of our child’s


Ars Poetica

Go to the root of things.
Stalk them as they surface
and tip
wordless like shoots
in your mother’s gabi patch
unguents for stomachs
afternoons in long March.

Watch them.
Watch as beginnings
close upon ends

and October noon
when storms find shelter
under shaking gabi leaves
with a brazen snake entangled
among a mother hen and her motley brood
you’ll have joys
stinging in your guts.