ARGONAUTS

By Luis G. Dato

I

From Asia’s teeming highlands, coasts, and bays,
They ploughed the outmost rim of ocean foam,
In pathless deeps envisioning their home,
Where suns perennial drop unsalted rays,
They ventured from the people-trodden ways,
And in their light, swift-winged barangays,
The seas below, aloft the flaming skies,
They found the ocean-haven of Malays.

They set their eyes on points unvisited,
On wave-lapped isles enchantedly remote,
The yawning reefs kept tally of the dead,
Transforming into graves the homes they sought;
From Asia’s naked shores, by fancy led,
They spread their sails, and drifted, monsoon-caught.

II

Upon these deeps in days remotely old,
A dauntless band of Malays flung their sails
Intrepidly. On tempests, storms and gales,
On ocean’s furies full their valor told,
Each gust a grave, each grave a tale unscrolled,
The unsung pathos of the toungeless wave
For utterance suspiring. O the brave,
Unnumbered dead who slumbered in their fold!

Some day, a bark of light will hereward glide,
By no one sent, whence no one living knows,
And, breaking centuries of deep repose,
Upgather from the sea an the dead who died
In quest of light. A gleam these deeps will tear,
And give new life to all who slumber there.

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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