Tagalog Book of Poems

Book Review by Jophen Baui

Tagalog book of poems review - reads poetry by Filipino poets, highlighting their celebration of the Filipino language. Here, we take a second look at the "songs" these writers sing when their muses visit them.

MGA TALA AT PANAGINIP 
(c) 2012 Mesandel Virtusio Arguelles

MGA TALA AT PANAGINIP compiles anecdotes, dreams, nostalgia, fantasies, and longings that commuters may have in their minds and hearts while on a long bus or jeepney ride. Some take the train and travel with a crowd of people pushing and shoving their way in for a fast but joyless commute. Each day is the same, commuters stand shoulder to shoulder with other harried souls and hold fast onto the rails from the start of their journey to its end. Each journey follows a linear path, but each moment of travel defies a beginning and doesn't end. 

Two hours is all it takes to commute from Dasmarinas, Cavite to the  University where Professor Mesandel Arguelles teaches literature and art appreciation. But traffic is always slow during rush hours.  Sitting inside the bus he turns to his muses who inspire him to "[pay] attention to everything, even the insignificant details". He records all that he sees inside and outside the jam-packed vehicle into poetry that refuses to downplay the battle out there for every soul who is impatient to reach a destination.

 Oktobre 1

"Parang mga langgam na nag-uunahan ang mga tao pasalubong sa pagdating  ng bus na biyahe palabas ng lungsod tungo sa kalapit-lalawigan. Wari ay walang takot masagi o maaksidenteng kung paano. Lahat gusto nang makauwi habang papalakas pa lang ang ambon. Bagama't kailangan ko na ring makauwi, hindi ako sumabak sa mga siksikan, tulakan, gitgitan para lang makakuha ng espasyong tatayuan. Gusto kong isiping malaya ako sa ganitong pangangailangan, sa ganitong kalagayan araw-araw."  MVA


Daily anecdotes that are snippets of life's energy and resilience break a commuter's monotonous ride; their longings anchor them in hope; fantasies provide them an escape, and nostalgia make their trip tolerable. 

Oktobre 8

"Dumating ang tatay ko galing Bicol. May uwi siyang mga abakang tsinelas para sa aming magkakapatid at sa nanay ko. Kulay-kape ang sa aming mga lalaki at iba't ibang kulay naman ang dahon ng sa mga babae, kadalasa'y berde, dilaw, at pula. Pambahay lang ang mga tsinelas, gayunman. Hindi ko magagamit na pamato sa tumbang-preso." MVA


The dreary ride is crammed with nostalgia, giving rest to the poet who is happy to return to his dreams, to memories of unresolved "what-ifs". 

Oktobre 12

"May mga talang di-nasulat

"Minsan nang nasulat: isang tala ang sinundan ng tatlong haring naglakbay upang matagpuan ang kanilang pakay. Kataka-takang hindi sila nawala o naligaw.

"Hanggang ngayon, waring nananatiling iisang tala ang sinusundan sa bawat paglalakbay patungo sa anumang hinahanap at kay raming talang hindi nabubuklat." MVA


But all these understate the value of the jotted insights, since every prose poem is a spark, a wisdom that shows us how we may number our days. 

Oktobre 15

"Hindi ko pa nakikita ang hangin, ngunit sa sandaling nakakuwadro ang aking mukha sa bukas na bintana ng humahagibis na bus, alam kong hindi kailangang makita upang maniwala: may naghihintay sa aking hantungan." MVA


Mesandel Virtusio Arguelles is a professor of the Humanities and Literature at the De La Salle University. Aside from MGA TALA AT PANAGINIP, he also authored the following books: Mal, Alinsunurang Awit, Antares, Alingaw, Parang, Hindi man lang nakita, Ilahas, Menos Kuwarto. 

MGA TALA AT PANAGINIP is published by High Chair.

See www.highchair.com.ph

Aside from Tagalog-book-of-poems-review page, other pages at english-to-tagalog.com recommends novels in Filipino