Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Another Invitation to the Pope to Visit Tondo

Emmanuel Torres won the Outstanding Young Men award for literature in 1961, started the Ateneo Arts Club in the same year, and was curator of the Art Gallery from 1960-2001.

This poem talks about a time during the Marcos regime when the pope came for a visit. Squatters areas were whitewalled, possibly in order to "make an impression" on the Pope. He saw right through it, however, and insisted on meeting a family from the area. The poem reflects the more realistic angle of the story, a mockery of the Church, in some ways, by alluding to doctrines.

Ma. Therese Boniface Roxas

ANOTHER INVITATION TO THE POPE TO VISIT TONDO
Emmanuel Torres

Next time your Holiness slums through our lives,
we will try to make our poverty exemplary.
The best is a typhoon month. It never fails
To find us, like charity, knocking on
all sides of the rough arrangements we thrive in.
Mud shall be plenty for the feet of the pious.

We will show uoi how we pull things together
from nowhere, life after life,
prosper with children, whom you love. To be sure,
we shall have more for you to love.

We will show you where the sun leaks on
our sleep,
on the dailiness of piece meals and wages
with their habit of slipping away
from fists that have holes for pockets.

We will show you our latest child with a sore
that never sleeps. When he cries,
the dogs of the afternoon bark without stopping,
and evening darkens early on the mats.

Stay for supper of turnips on our table
since 1946 swollen with the same hard tears.
The buntings over our one and only window
shall welcome a short breeze.

And lead prayers for the family that starves
and stays together. If we wear roasries round
our nexks
it is not because they never bruise our fingers,
(Pardon if we doze on a dream of Amen.)

But remember to remember to reward us
with something . . . more lush, greener than all
the lawns of memorial parks singing together.
Our eyes shall belss the liveliness of dollars.

Shed no tears, please, for the brown multitudes
who thicken on chance and feast on leftovers
as the burning garbage smuts the sky of Manila
pile after pile after pile.

Fear not. Now there are only surreal assassins
about who dream of your death in the shape
of a flowering kris.

6 comments:

elizab_a said...

This poems truely depicts the situation of the poor. How poverty truely dehumanizes men. This is particularly true in the Philippine setting where majority of our people are living in poverty. It is a very sad reality. The even more depressing reality is that this poem was set during the 1960's, when the pope came to the Philippines and today this reality is even more prevalent that before. The situation did not only not improve, but it actually got even worse! With the continuous depreciation of the peso, the state of our country is getting worse and more and more people are living in this manner.
---> Marie Elizabeth Marguerite Lopez Aguirre

Jessica Lace said...

I love this poem because it reminds me of Mr. Pesigan who discussed it in our Lit class last year. This poem talks about a specific event that happened during Marcos’ time; it shows how difficult and miserable life was in those years. Although the author is describing and talking about something that happened decades ago, this poem, if read today, is still appropriate for the situation of the Philippines. Poverty is still prevalent and the situation of the Philippines hasn’t changed at all.
The headline today shows that the Peso is getting stronger. I hope it continues because it is about time that our country rises again. Our country needs good governance and unity amongst the people, if we achieve it, then progress is near. -Jessica Evangelista

Anonymous said...

For me, what really stands out from this poem is sarcasm. I can find sarcasm in every stanza! So, i guess all i can say is that Emmanuel Torres sure is a sarcastic guy.

Anonymous said...

For me, what really stands out from this poem is sarcasm. I can find sarcasm in every stanza! So, i guess all i can say is that Emmanuel Torres sure is a sarcastic guy.

-Joeffrey Barrios Jr.

Anonymous said...

i like this poem because it poverty (where it is most prominent in todo) that any high-ranking person like the pope must see. not those those beautiful because poverty is the real problem and situation that our country is in - alex mendoza, friend of melinda yoingco

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how Emmanuel Torres used sarcasm in the poem to show the conditions the poor are suffering from. He also used sarcasm to describe how people in power have become unaware and apathetic of the living conditions of the poor.

Justin Yap
friend of Juan Paolo Bermundo