Ramon Amancio Estanque
Friends - Poem by Ramon Amancio Estanque
know my friends-
they are those born
in nipa huts in the countryside,
under patched-up roofs
of slum-dwellers in the cities,
or on hole-riddled mattresses
in cheap hospitals.
they are those baptized en masse
through hurried oremuses of priests
scrimping on spittle
for the next special baptism.
they are those whose passage to age
is barely noticed
for no newspaper would dare
print their names
or report the humble gatherings
on their days of birth.
they are those who, if only for a day,
are afforded the chance to be gods
by the bogus servants of the people,
and are forced to laugh
at pretty lies.
they are those who, after elections,
are again made to worship the
by fences of guns
that reach up to their washrooms.
they are those sunk in the quagmire
and who can only gawk
at the fruits of their own toil in the markets
and display windows
of famous stores.
they are those who, in plays
staged in the theaters of the rich,
or act out villain roles.
they are those who, possessing talents
become hired brains and hands
of big businessmen.
they are those who live by themselves
in fertile mountains
whose contours carved
by their old culture
become the butt of joke
of the 'civilized'
in the name of christianity
who are being disowned
of their wealth and cultivated lands.
i know my friends-
they are those whose stories
are inscribed in the bloody and muddy pages
of the books of cadres
who have fallen in the mountains
of Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao.
they are those whose welfare
dwells in the mind of every oppressed person
who slowly aligns himself
on the left end of the field.
they are those whose lot is also mine...
to live in a free country
or die in struggle........
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