Existences - Poem by RIC BASTASA

Fenced carabaos of this Agricultural college Thrive on limited spread of grass Man-made They look forward To angles and rows of green hills and valley And clear flowing creeks To the other side The white herons, (wild ducks, sparrows, and mayas)
Fly above trees and (daffodils) And land on paddies with flecks Of surface mud fishes and tadpoles and mosquito larvae

I see The sparrows rest In flocks Lining up On electric cables Or Power Lines Watching army Worms and golden shells (kuhol) etching slowly, eating green greedily On rice and grass stalks

An owl hovers (the late owl, where was it last night?) On the island of twigs On an old mango tree (balding & ugly & dying)

No wonder The white herons (about twenty in all, I counted them patiently on digital cam) taunt The carabaos (muddy and thin as grasses were cut and cleaned by ROTC cadettes on Sundays, I can’t rationalize why the grass population be reduced) fenced On a limited supply of Manmade grass and Growth controlled

They wing finally when I got near them Lightly like blown leaves
This February wind And land on Carabaos’ backs Gleaning for lice Feasting on some pecking and swallowing & pecking again

Thriving on carabaos’ Hairs and skin some creatures though still

On the other side of the landscape A thin brown, woman With a buri hat And a rattan basket on one hand and a sack on the other Leans over A dry ricefield Gleaning for leftovers of palay

Beside her but not that really near The man drives the white herons Away to the other side of the island of banana trunks
Then he goes to the carabaos Their wet noses tied to an abaca roof and tied again to the cemented posts of this accredited agricultural college spreading about two hectares of stupidity

The questions about lice and herons and carabaos and grasses
And golden snails, tadpoles and mud fishes and sparrows died

The lice are free Feeding away from The eating white herons
They have flown away since then to the other side of my world

By now the flock of Sparrows On the electric cables or power lines Wing their way To a farther town as I leave them fast for lack of time for shortness of serendipity for lack of interest

There are pebbles inside my shoes.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 19, 2008

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