Friday, August 10, 2007

Poem for Angko

A Poem for Angko

That you, ever so young at heart
So fresh and deep in thought
So kind and gentle, angko,
Should lie there low, silent,
When the world seems fuller
Of selfish ambition,
hungry greed and vain pride!

It's Strange, angko,
So strange
That you left before us,
Poor copies of your near-heavenly
Before we could pay back
your gentle kindness.

That those who eat
of the dish of generosity
Are unable to pay back goodness
No! a mere song cannot
thunder above
The gentle breath
of your kindly heart.

Did your actions not restore
my wretched poor childhood
To make a glorious, vain poet of me?
No. I cannot sing!
The words refuse to leave my clasped lips.

Strange, Angko!
That we who suckled your fatherly sap
And basked in your parental radiance
Have betrayed you
By not saying thank you loudly enough
Yet one thousand thankyous
Cannot match a selfless deed
From one who sought no thank you
Why is it so difficult to repay goodness?

Today my heart is tearful with sorrow
My heart is fearful with respect
For you who smiled so little
Yet loved so earnestly
Behind that stern look
Can a father's pursed, stern lips
Hide so much love?

For who can pay back
Such true, selfless love?
Even though our hearts desire
to repay, to emulate,
The sacrifices you made
Only the humbling memories remain,
For your kindness
was beyond the spoken word.

Strange! Angko! Strange!
Not even the fleeting words of a song
Can capture the softness of your heart.
I want to thank you, brother of my mother
My uncle,
But I can't..
My humble gifts are of earthly value,
given in haste
They pale away in shame
Before your silent presence.

I who sang Aton nera kende
And went on to become a poet
Now I cannot sing;
my lips are tight.
Only the tears flow
Like a silent, secret stream
Flowing on and on, angko
On and on angko...


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