Gelacio Guillermo’s Ang mga Panahon (The Seasons)


Night before a protest march in time for the 23rd anniversary of the inutile CARP, farmworkers from Hacienda Luisita of Tarlac gathered outside the gates of DAR (Department of Agriculture) along with peasant advocates in a brief program of solidarity. It was a chance to read this poem by a humble multi-awarded author who was born in the hacienda and worked there for a time. It was a participatory reading, as from time to time, the audience would spontaneously release a powerful applause in familiar proper names and feelings and in words not foreign but are seldom kept from public knowledge.

Photos taken from the mobile photo exhibit.

Ang mga Panahon ni Gelacio Guillermo

Printed in Kung Kami’y Magkakapit-bisig: Mga Tula sa Hacienda Luisita released in commemoration of Ka Gelas’s 70th birthday.


Hindi likas ang mga panahon. Dalawa ang panahon,
Ang panahon ng kabyaw at ang panahong tigil, ang isa’y naglalawa
Sa grasa at mulasis, ang isa nama’y singtuyot ng bagaso.
Liban sa pagpapalit ng mga tauhan o bahagi ng makina,
Walang pagbabagong nagpapabago sa mga daang-riles ng panahon,
Ang kanilang mekanikal na pag-ulit-ulit ay nakapiston sa kundisyong
Walang anumang babaguhin, ni ang klima
Ng huntahan ni ang ani ng tungkulin o buhay.
Ang mga panaho’y bunton ng bale at utang,
Sakuna’t kamatayan, sakit at pagpapatalsik,
Walang paghinog ng mga bagong pag-iibigan o pagpawi
Ng di-makatarungang relasyon. Hindi prutas ang mga tubó
Sila’y Sugar y Azucar, nangangamoy-salapi
Mula sa Mill Department, sa
Boiling House hanggang sa Departamento de las Vias Obras
Y Transportacion, at ang tinatawag na milagro
Ng panahon, na inuukulan ng dasal, ay
Ang sapal. Kaya nga’t sa Alto, napipigil ng mga senyor
At senyora ang pagpapalit ng mga panahon
Para iwasiwas ng kanilang artipisyal na gubat ang mga sangang
May palagiang paabot ng tag-araw. Ang kanilang libanga’y
Ang pagtatayo ng bangko at simbahan at pagpaparami
Ng mga tusong manok-pansabong at de-kwerdas na mga badigard.
Kaya nga’t sa Obrero, Camarin, Dolores, Lote,
Balete, Mapalacsiao, dumadaloy ang lahat tulad ng dati:
Naglalaro ang mga bata ng kanilang pinamagang lastiko,
Kayrupok, kaydaling mapatid, inaalo sila ng kanilang mga ina
Ng tubó, panutsa, muskobado o repinadong asukal,
Na paubos na, ang kanilang mga ama’y
Lalong nabibingi’t natutulala sa lambong nitong beintekwatro oras
Na makinaryang animo’y bagyo’t kulog.
Lahat di maglalao’y huhupa
Sa ingit ng nag-iisang gulong ng bagón. Ang panahong tigil
Ay ang panahong nadiskaril, nanginginig sa manipis
Na tunog ng pudpod na bakal.
 
Kapag ang init
Ay tumindi, hindi na nila kailangang ipulupot ang kanilang buhay sa arko
Ng pananampalataya sa mga panahong ito, o mamulot ng malulungkot na kabute
Sa bunton ng naninikit, umuusok, nangingitim na dumi
Ng kanilang paggawa. Sa mga barak, hinahasa
Ng mga tabasero ang karit sa kanilang mga sugat. Hindi
Na nila hihintayin ang mando ng Jefe de los Tabaseros.
Sa panahong sila mismo ang gumawa, sa tubuhan
Ng lahat nilang nabaling nasa, itinataas nila ang kanilang karit
Sa tanging kanilang maindayog na paraan ng pagtagpas.
 

The Seasons

The seasons are not natural. There are two seasons,
The milling season and the off-season, one wet
With grease and syrup, the other dry as bagatelle.
But for the replacement of men or parts of machine,
No change alters the railways of the seasons,
Their mechanical repetitions pistoned with the condition
That they don’t change anything, neither the weather
Of conversations nor the harvests of life or duty.
The seasons are stockpiles of scripts and debts,
Accidents and deaths, illnesses and lay-offs,
Without the ripening of new loves or the falling off
Of unjust relations. Sugar canes are not fruits,
They are Sugar y Azucar, smelling of money
All the way from the Mill Department through
The Boiling House to the
Departamento de las Vias Obras
Y Transportacion, and what is called the miracle
Of the season, for which a prayer must be said, are
The pulps. That is why at the Alto, the señores
And the señoras can halt the turning of the seasons,
So that their artificial forest dangles its branches
With the perpetual notice of summer, their pastimes
The construction of banks and churches and the breeding
Of smart game-cocks and stuffed bodyguards.
That is why in Obrero, Camarin, Dolores, Lote,
Balete, Mapalacsiao, everything goes on as usual:
The children play with their bloated rubber bands,
Which will soon break, their mothers console them
With cana, panocha, muscovado or refined sugar,
Which will soon be gone, their fathers
Grow more deaf and dumb under the bowers of this 24-hour
Storm-and-thunder machinery, all soon to be reduced
To the whirring of a solitary cart-wheel. The off-
Season is the derailed season, vibrating with the thin
Sound of used metal.
 
When the temperature has gone
High, they need no longer twine their lives around the trellis
Of faith in these seasons, or gather sad mushrooms
From those hills of sticky, smoking, dark sewage
Of their labor. Inside their barracks, the cane-cutters
Sharpen their scythes against their wounds. They need
Not wait for orders from the Jefe de los Tabaseros.
In the season of their own making, in the fields
Of all their broken wills, they raise their scythes
In their graceful, their only one, way of cutting.
#
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About Joanna Lerio

cultural journalist, multidisciplinary artist, educator, traveller, dreamer, yogini, vegetarian, advocate Facebook.com/JoannaLerioOfficial Youtube.com/juanalily Juanalily.wordpress.com/ Juanalilytravels.dreamtrips.com/refer Twitter.com/JoannaLerio Facebook.com/linanganng.kulturangpilipino Artistswelfare.org/join-us/
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