Cheryl L. DaytecYañgot

Rookie (Baguio City, Philippines)

A Desaparecido's Farewell - Poem by Cheryl L. DaytecYañgot

My love, please do not wait up for me tonight
Or tomorrow – forgive me, I will not arrive
I am lying peaceful in an unmarked grave
In a tepid, dark place; please, my love, be brave.
Do not grieve: I have done all I needed to
Save for one weighty thing: oh, it haunts me so.

To my heart, they plunged a lance to halt my breath;
But ten more of me will emerge from my death.
Like glass chandelier launched by a livid sky
Into a thousand splinters, I will multiply.
My corroded flesh joined the barren, parched earth;
Droves of life-sustaining shrubs await their birth.

My blood is fertile peat for the grassroots’ war
For liberty from hunger, to freedom’s door.
My life is not my flesh; it’s the robust force;
It gives intense light to Revolution’s torch!
Its smolder unswerving-the masses wield it high!
While the steadfast grassroots stand, how could I die?

Promise no tears ‘cause my death is not death: it’s life.
Please celebrate my death; do not mourn, my dear wife.
From my grave - here, I hunger - beside you I stand;
I need to embrace you and caress your warm hand.
Please forgive me: there’s just one thing I failed to do-
Oh, my love, why did I not say goodbye to you?

(I wrote this early morning of 2 December 2006. The day before, a fellow human rights lawyer and I met with two women whose husbands were victims of enforced disappearance. One of them talked with pain about the uncertainties felt by the disappeared's families. That night, I could not sleep thinking of how a desaparecido must be feeling during his/her last moments.)

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Pablo Neruda

If You Forget Me

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Poem Submitted: Friday, October 10, 2008

Poem Edited: Monday, November 17, 2008

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