Pensive mood of LUIS G. DATO

A Baaeño Poet’s insight on Love and Life

Filipino Poet, Writer, Educator and Politician

luis g. dato filipino poet
Luis G. Dato, Filipino poet

Luis G. Dato (pseudonym ISAROG) was a Bikolano Poet, writer, educator and politician from Baao, Camarines Sur, Philippines. He is one of the first generation Filipino poets in English of the 20th century and the author of “The Spouse, “Malolos”, “Day on the Farm”, “Among the Hills,” etc.

He is anthologized in several published books, such as the Filipino Poetry by Rodolfo Dato 1924; Philippine Prose and Poetry, Jose Garcia Villa 1949; German-English Anthology of Filipino Poets, Pablo Laslo 1934, Readings in Philippine Literature, Celedonio G. Aguilar 1994; Our Scene So Fair: Filipino Poetry in English, 1905-1955, Gémino H. Abad 2008; Brown River, White Ocean: An Anthology of Twentieth-century Philippine Literature in English 1993; Writers & Their Milieu: An Oral History of First Generation Writers in English, Edilberto Alegre, Doreen Fernandez 2012; Philippine Poetry in English, 1928–1950: A Critical Survey, Joseph Ignatius Bengzon Gonzales, 1986; to name a few.

Filipino Poet

In 1926, at the age of 20, he published his book Manila: A Collection of Verse. It was among the first English poetry books that was published just 20 years after the American occupation of the Philippines. In 1936, with the help of his older brother, Rodolfo Dato published his second collection of works, entitled, My Book of Verses, which was published in Naga City.

Son of Baao

He wrote for, and edited various Bikol newspapers. He was actively involved in local cultural groups and wrote monographs and lexical works espousing the Bikol language.

He served his town as mayor twice and pioneered seminal studies on Baao family genealogy, local history, culture and archeological heritage. His influence as literary artist, scholar and teacher remains to this day.


Prose and Poetry

Filipino Poetry by Rodolfo Dato
Article

“FILIPINO POETRY” BOOK REVIEW

In February 1925, after the recent publication of the first anthology of Filipino poets in English, “Filipino Poetry”, a 19-year old, University of the Philippines student, Luis G. Dato (“Bikol of Baao, Camarines Sur”) wrote the essay, Filipino Poetry, as a survey and an in-depth review of the book. It also expounded on the local production of verses, criticisms, and the history and future of poetry in English. Utmost gratitude sent to the National Library of the Philippines for the digital copy of this archive. By Luis Dato We cannot exactly tell just when the Filipinos began tuning the lyre,…

TO A LOST ONE by Luis Dato
Poem

TO A LOST ONE

by Luis G. Dato For many a day of sunlight,Her eyes surveyed the waves,And in her glances one nightDescry her cold, white grave. For many days she waitedHer eyes with weeping warm,To bare boughs undulatedIn the loud-howling storm. Her days, her nights are overThe soul in pain has died,The fair, the dear-eyed lover,Death chose to be his bride.

A SURVEY OF FILIPINO POETRY IN ENGLISH
Article

A SURVEY OF FILIPINO POETRY IN ENGLISH

A SURVEY OF FILIPINO POETRY IN ENGLISH is an article, written by Luis G. Dato, which originally appeared in the Philippines Herald Mid-week Magazine in April 6, 1932 about his thoughts on classical poetry and the future of the emergence of the new form. By LUIS DATO It is a joy to return to Filipino poetry after a separation of three years. One is apt, after the absence, to discover in the beloved object, new charms and new possibilities of charms which in the intimate ardor of the previous obsession one had overlooked, or regarded as of little price, and…

Schubert by Josef Kriehuber (1846 lithograph)
Poem

ON SCHUBERT’S SERENADE

By Luis G. Dato In days of old, one moonlight night, When young was life and earth and art, A lover asked his friend to write A song to win a fair one’s heart. The outcome the world knows so well The immortal Schubert’s Serenade, Which holds the heart still in its spell, A sweet song sobbing o’er the glade. And a dear friendship came to end -­ The poet the fair lady wed, For she her heart gave not his friend, But loved the poet in his stead. Ah, strange and curious heritage, It haunts its hearers through the…

Your unseen fingers of the night have spun Auroral flowers that surprise, Clouds petalled red against the sun, And scarlet with sunrise.
Poem

ART

By Luis G. Dato Your unseen fingers of the night have spun Auroral flowers that surprise, Clouds petalled red against the sun, And scarlet with sunrise. Last night a terror crept within my heart With every gust of sudden rain, Torn, tousled boughs were slapped athwart My slumbered window-pane. Perhaps your fingers splashing on the void, Were frantic with the nearing dawn, By turns alarmed and overjoyed At frescoes partly drawn. Were you afraid lest daylight found your art A chaos of the cosmic dyes? Did terror creep within my heart, Last night before sunrise?

Forgetfulness by Luis Dato
Poem

FORGETFULNESS

by Luis G. Dato Will you forgive? Bright drops of dew? Around hurt petals balsam weave, Will you? Can I forget? A nightwing flutters by And whispers softly, “No, not yet!” Will I? –Philippine Magazine December 1937

MALOLOS
Poem

MALOLOS

by Luis G. Dato The town is quiet, the houses still, And the dark house of God, The heroes slumber up the hill, And in my heart, their blood. Again I see a gay procession, And men in bright attire, A hundred delegates in session, And soldiers in the mire. Malolos, once you rent asunder A striding tyrant’s heels, A day as this that sees us thunder Down you with iron wheels. — The Herald Mid-Weekly Magazine August 23, 1939

Your smiles have died and there is no replying To all endearment and my gifts are vain;
Poem

Day on the Farm

By Luis G. Dato I’ve found you fruits of sweetest taste and found youBunches of duhat growing by the hill,I’ve bound your arms and hair with vine and bound youWith rare wildflowers but you are crying still. I’ve brought you all the forest ferns and brought youWrapped in green leaves cicadas singing sweet,I’ve caught you in my arms an hour and taught youLove’s secret where the mountain spirits meet. Your smiles have died and there is no replyingTo all endearment and my gifts are vain;Come with me, love, you are too old for crying,The church bells ring and I hear…

AMONG THE HILLS by Luis Dato
Poem

Among the Hills

By Luis G. Dato I used to watch the sunrise glow That set aflame the eastern skies, My lips in songs did freely flow As thoughts went fleeting with my sighs. I’ve lived through storms and smiles and tears, And seen familiar faces die, Ah, these, my weary youthful years Are fraught with shades of dreams gone by. And yet when once again I see The glory of the purpling hills, My dying heart revives to be A spring of love and lover’s thrills. My mind in youth did ever roam Across the mountains and the dales, And now my…

The Spouse
Poem

The Spouse

By Luis G. Dato Rose in her hand and moist eyes young with weeping, She stands upon the threshold of her house, Fragrant with scent that wakens love from sleeping, She looks far down to where her husband plows. Her hair disheveled in the night of passion, Her warm limbs humid with the sacred strife, What may she know what man and woman fashion Out of the clay of ire and sorrow. Life? She holds no joys beyond the day’s tomorrow, She finds no worlds beyond her love’s embrace, She looks behind the form behind the furrow, Who is her…

MI ULTIMO PENSAMIENTO
Poem

MI ULTIMO PENSAMIENTO

By Luis G. Dato Farewell, dear isles beloved of sea and sky, Where once we envisioned the gleam of Paradise, For your dear sake seems it divine to die, And were life fresher, brighter still would I Walk smiling onward to the sacrifice. Down fields of battle in the undying faith, Others face death without questioning why: Place matters not: the laurel or the wreath, The scaffold, torture, or the plains of death, All are the answer to the country’s cry. I die just when the sky purples in the dawn, And day at last arises from the night, And…

Ledivine Dato dela Cruz
Sonnet

XXX

Against the time did I prepare my heart,When blind no more to harsh reality,The veil must fall from dream and revery,And mine no more, your ways and mine must part;I sought God’s shrines, I asked the science, artOf the kind years to lull all memoryOf you and all the past, but silentlyAnd all unbid rash tears from the eyelids start. Forgive me, God! Forgive me, dear, kind years!‘Tis true, perhaps ’twas only a swift smile,A glance, a song ’twere best soon to forgetYet I remember, dare the grief, the tears —Eternity itself for one brief, while —And meet all, even…

Ledivine Dato dela Cruz
Sonnet

XXVI

by Luis G. Dato I will not cry at parting for my pain,Though henceforth through the endless days aloneI whom you taught so shall not call my ownYour love nor turn back to your paths again;I shall not weep above my cup of wineWith bitterness on going though ’tis night,Nor though I loved you, deem it now not rightThat others love you whom I loved as mine. The leaves blow down upon the empty street,Like ghosts of loves no word of man may tell,Lay here the mark where once to meet was sweet,Where ill-starred loves up-bounding flower fell,The wind and…

Ledivine Dato dela Cruz
Sonnet

XXV

by Luis G. Dato I cannot deem it that the word has beenUttered between us that our way must part,And that the sun declining to its greenShore in the west divides us in the heart.We were together when the morning rose,Such strange sweet things together had we dreamed,Tell me that all I find has only seemed,That ’tis with dew, not tears the flower glows. Swift as life is, for it the rose is blown,And losing love, life dies before its dawn,Dream as life is ’tis love that gives its truth;So, O my love, when in our heart is youth,‘Tis you…

Sarah Barrameda Balares
Sonnet

XXIV

by Luis G. Dato I still remember of the happy time,When we two met upon the downs in May,The sun at morn shone in its pride’s pale day,There sounded in the sky the belfry’s chime.‘Twas morning in our world, and all the flowersShed scent upon our way, and as we passed,It seemed the future mingled with the pastTo shower on us God’s happy gift of hours. The rose has faded from the happy plain,The reeds have choked the ways that knew your sound,And bell and belfry thrown upon the ground,A forest bends in the autunmal rain,Vine climbs above the ruined…

Sarah Barrameda Balares
Sonnet

XXIII

by Luis G. Dato That you could thus forget so easily,The day whose memory I made a shrine,The smile you gave me cheeringly as wineWhen a fair one pours it and tempts us try,Holding with hand whose glow out-charms the gift,And we doubt then which to the lips to lift,The wine that sparkles or the hands that vie,And the fair cup is emptied with a sigh. Love came to visit me with dawn and goesAs falls with night the ne’er unfading rose;And as love came you came, alas the dayWhen I beheld and loved you in life’s way!A smile creeps…

XXII
Sonnet

XXII

by Luis G. Dato I had long loved in silence until then;You were my dream, and in the dark of night,Your face in youth was as a moon whose lightBrightened my life’s so melancholy lane.I saw your face and it was like the day,Your hair I likened to the sensuous night,And when upon my brow your hand you lay,Love I foreswore, and kissing held you tight. The bowers where you blushed when our eyes met,And the young rose we watched and made to grow,The wind blows over with an idle sigh,For you played false even when my kiss was yetWarm…


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