That’s my Father.
Can you hear him?
He’s rubbing my back just thinking, get well my daughter.
He just came from the office.
I was seven years old.
Finished Law without books.
But when UP topped the bar, he was No. 9.
I did not know.
He kept quiet.
For he was a Poet first.
Mommy gathered all the poems he wrote in a
humble book-bound compilation.
He told my sister he would read the dictionary,
page by page,
Under the coconut tree,
By the River Pasig.
That’s why he knew so many words in English.
And he put them together, one over another,
Into paeans to the Author of Beauty.
We sat together reading
Life Magazine. And Reader’s Digest.
He said Reading was very important.
For school, for growing up, for holding hands with Life.
One day, I wrote an essay ending with:
“But if my Father gave me away in my wedding,
I would not let go of his hand.”
Tears fell from his eyes when I became ill
And could not continue schooling at one time.
Only time he cried.
And it was I who made him cry.
All he wanted was to be beside the woman he loved, my mommy, and
Have his children finish their studies.
That was The Accomplishment of a Man who could not even
buy shoes to go school.
He wore bakya.
I kept the Book of Poems
Of Raul Arceo Aristorenas.
From childhood to adulthood,
I kept on reading his poems.
Trying to decipher what each meant.
But my Father is a Silent Person.
And even angels will never
Pull the gauze curtain that covers the
My Father’s Poems.
Nor the sweet rhymes of