Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Like the Molave

R. Zulueta da Costa is one of the few Filipino poets who can speak about patriotism without a hint of sentimentality. Salvador Lopez says that sentimentality should not overpower the poet in directing the flow of a literary piece, having the love for one’s country as a theme, because “patriotism is one of the shallowest and most artificial of the human emotions, pandering to a group feeling that is rarely sound and honest.” In “Like The Molave,” R. Zulueta da Costa expresses the honesty which is said to be rare, expressing satire about the Philippine situation, but still with the hope which comes with the new generation: “the youth of the land.”

In the present, the promise of the youth is gradually being taken into account. This reminds me of the new program in ABS-CBN entitled “Y-speak now!” where young people can actually have a say in particular issues, but still of course with the guidance of adults. This promotes the youth’s involvement in social issues as the program dutifully recognizes their importance, because, as Rizal said, “ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.”

Marvin Pedregosa

R. Zulueta da Costa

Not yet Rizal, not yet. Sleep not in peace:
There are a thousand waters to be spanned;
There are a thousand mountains to be crossed;
There are a thousand crosses to be borne.
Our shoulders are not strong; our sinews are
Grown flaccid with dependence, smug with ease
Under another’s wing. Rest not in peace;
Not yet, Rizal, not yet. The land has need
Of young blood – and what younger than your own,
Forever spilled in the great name of freedom,
Forever oblate on the altar of
The free? Not you alone, Rizal. O souls
And spirits of the martyred brave, arise!
Arise and scour the land! Shed once again
Your willing blood! Infuse the vibrant red
Into our thin anemic veins; until
We pick up your Promethean tools and, strong,
Out of the depthless matrix of your faith
In us, and on the silent cliffs of freedom,
We carve for all time your marmoreal dream!
Until our people, seeing, are become
Like the molave, firm, resilient, staunch,
Rising on the hillside, unafraid,
Strong in its own fibre; yes, like the molave!

The youth of the land is a proud and noble appellation,
The youth of the land is a panoramic poem,
The youth of the land is a book of paradoxes,
The youth of the land is a pat on one’s back,
The youth of the land is a huge canvas of spectral colors,
The youth of the land is an epic tragedy-comedy,
The youth of the land is a crashing symphony,
The youth of the land is a child grown old in tears,
The youth of the land is an old man laughing through a perpetual infancy;
A bastard child of a thousand dreams, masquerading and dancing,
The youth of the land.

Source: R. Zulueta da Costa. Like The Molave and a Collection of Poems.


Anonymous said...

I feel sad and happy after reading this poem. My ambivalence being that there are still people who flag the sentiment of patriotism. And that Rizal's call of the youth(ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan), in my opinion, has slowly become a chant-on-cue or even a handy cliche to refer to the youth. *snicker*

When I read the youth of the land, images of nursing students and "rugby boys" spring to my mind. Sadly, this has become the youth of Philippines today. And it is undeniable that these people are sons/daughters of the once youths that have been neglected themselves.

Anonymous said...

^ my comment above. Sorry I forgot to fill in my name.
- Carlsberg Tsang

Anonymous said...

I like this poem very much since it offers us, the youth, a driving challenge. I feel within me the author's mighty & persistent call as I read through the lines.

-Melissa Santiago R16

Anonymous said...

The message of this poem much like resembles the message of the poem I chose :) The country for a long time depends on the youth. I can't help questioning where the youth they addressed years ago went. We're still in the same situation. Nothing much have changed. The saying of Rizal merely became a treasure hidden in a chest, left as it is, and passed on again.
-Leslie Mae Rivero