dida han katsirak
an santol ha bungsaran.
Sugad hin maaram na hiya
nga paprehas na la
an tiabot nga mga adlaw-
paningkamot nga makakaon,
makabayad hit mga baraydan,
sunod na la anay an karagtatawa,
an girok, an hiyom han kalag.
Ugaring, padayon man la gihap
an pagrabong han iya kadahunan
sugad han may ada la gihap
Bangin la sunod na tuig
magbunga ini hiya
bisan may pandemya pa
Sige la, basta tindog pa hiya
may pamumulaton pa.
The santol tree in our yard
failed to fruit last summer.
As though it knew the days forthcoming
would be just like those that had gone before—
same toil to put rice in the pot,
pay off the old endless debts,
protect one’s own, keep safe
from dangers of all kinds, holding off
one’s need for laughter, the craving
to scratch the neural itch, the pleasures of the soul.
Its leaves growing full and lush, as though
aware that birthing goes on, babes born,
love still happens and the beloved exists,
that thieves prey on their victims without fail,
that felons cheat the unwary, that jailers
remand the guilty to their dungeons,
the prison cells fill with their numbers,
that murderers everywhere teem as usual
and the murdered die in scores.
Will it fruit next season, I wonder,
will it bear despite this pandemic?
As long as it’s upright, I suppose,
still rooted on earth, there’s hope.
Translated by Merlie Alunan