Bonsai

Poetry by | October 2, 2011

Editor’s Note: Last September 21, 2011, the Davao Writers Guild and the UP Mindanao Literary Society held a tribute to National Artist for Literature Edith L. Tiempo, who passed away on August 21, 2011. Writers gave tribute through reminiscences and readings of Tiempo’s poems. UP Mindanao creative writing students gave dance and musical offerings to honor her memory and legacy. Davao writer and scholar Macario Tiu read his Cebuano translation of Tiempo’s best-loved poem, “Bonsai.”

Bonsai
by Edith Tiempo

All that I love
I fold over once
And once again
And keep in a box
Or a slit in a hollow post
Or in my shoe.

All that I love?
Why, yes, but for the moment
And for all time, both.
Something that folds and keeps easy,
Son’s note or Dad’s one gaudy tie,
A roto picture of a queen,
A blue Indian shawl, even
A money bill.

It’s utter sublimation,
A feat, this heart’s control
Moment to moment
To scale all love down
To a cupped hand’s size.

Till seashells are broken pieces
From God’s own bright teeth,
And life and love are real
Things you can run and
Breathless hand over
To the merest child.

Bonsai
(Gihubad ni Macario D. Tiu)

Ang tanan kong gimahal
Akong pil-on makausa
Ug pil-on pag-usab
Ug itago sa usa ka kahon
O sa lungag sa usa ka poste
O sa akong sapatos.

Ang tanan kong gimahal?
Bitaw, para sa karon
Ug sa kahangtoran, kanang duha.
Usa ka butang nga sayon pil-on ug
Sayon tipigon,
Sulat sa anak o mabulokong
korbata ni Papa,
Usa ka karaang retrato sa batan-ong rayna,
Usa ka dakong panyo sa Bombay,
Bisan gani kuwartang papel.

Kadakong himaya
Usa ka kadaogan, kining gahom sa
kasingkasing
Sa matag takna
Nga pagamyon ang tanang gugma
Ngadto sa usa ka kumkom,

Hangtod ang mga sigay maoy mga
Buak nga tipaka sa sinaw nga ngipon sa Ginuo,
Ug ang kinabuhi ug gugma maoy
Tinuod nga mga butang nga imong
Idagan ug maghangak kang itunol
Ngadto sa usa ka bata.

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