Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Danton Remoto was educated in the Philippines and in Great Britain, with degrees in Literature and Publishing Studies, respectively. Currently, he teaches at the Ateneo de Manila University and writes “X-Factor”, a column promoting gay pride, for The Manila Times. The poem tells about poverty. There is a family in rock bottom praying to Mother Mary. They are in desperation to be out of their situation. To show this, it is portrayed that they are running out of candles.
This poem reminds me of martial law under President Marcos. The economy was going downhill at the time. Also, Marcos owed a lot of money to the International Monetary Fund. Because of economic mismanagement and rampant corruption, many people suffered financially. The poem reminds us of what had happened during Marcos’ reign.

Joseph Padilla

Danton Remoto

Candles melt
the hard darkness
inside the church.
Smoke thinner
than thread quivers
to the Mother
of Perpetual Help.

May the Holy Mother
a father’s shirt
beaded with debts,
lines skull-deep
on a mother’s forehead,
children with violated
The tears
of a country
that seems to have run
out of candles to burn.


Anonymous said...

I think this poem talks about an obvious truth, that majority of the Philippine population is now living in poverty. In my opinion, the "candles" here symbolizes the Filipino's hope and prayers that in some way the state of their lives might be alleviated. The details tell of the people's hardships: the father's shirt beaded with debts implies that even if the father works hard for money, even if he buries himself in the extremes of manual work, he would still not have enough money to support his family; the lines skull-deep on a mother's forehead symbolizes the problems that she has gone through, and the problems that she is still experiencing, which have both made her worry to the point that she has grown very thin. At the end, I think the poem expresses the people's diminishing hope of ever being able to live contentedly.

-Marvin Pedregosa

Anonymous said...

i really can't look upon marcos as the father figure in this poem.. but yes.. it speaks a lot about the hopeless situation our country is in right now.

-- Wanda Madarang R16

Jessica Lace said...

This poem talks about poverty, which has been around for decades. It shows how poverty affects the lives of people; fathers, mother, and children suffer. People are helpless and every single day, they are pushed lower and lower until there seems to be no hope at all. This poem is also a proof of the devotion of Filipinos to their religion; in times like this, people turn to Mary and with her they may somehow see the light of God. -Jessica Evangelista

Anonymous said...

In this picture, Filipinos living in a culture of poverty depend on their faith as a crutch in order to get by. The details emphasize on the fragility of the situation--debts, worries, violated dreams--having resulted from the difficulty of everyday life. Candles are burned in the manner of consigning anxieties to a greater force, in the spirit of the Filipino cliche of, 'Bahala na.' Yet this speaks not only of the individuals who are directly affected by crisis but the entire nation that is in a state of depression. 'A country that seems to have run out of candles to burn,' signifies movement toward weakness or resignation as burdens continue to pile. When all effort has already been exhausted and when hope is thinning out, the only remaining thing to have faith in is faith itself.

--rachel de mesa