INTRAMUROS

By Luis G. Dato

Out where the wild vines spread
Upon the winding walls,
I hear old madrigals
And music from the dead.

There the grasses hang
Their canopy of leaves,
Which oft at dawn receives
Matins the mayas sang.

Where peace holds sways
On mounted mossy squares,
Where panting thoroughfares
Are heard, but far away.

There will I sit and sing,
Far from the tramp pf feet
Upon the crowded street
And dream of crown and king.

Old walls now mouldering
In quiet, silent ease,
They knew not then of peace.
When glory was their king.

They tell of a long-lost reign
And love-forsaken beauty!
Of sentinels on duty
With musket and with wine!

Of war and wrathful fight,
Of mob and surging crowd,
Protesting clear and loud
Against the law of might.

Of pirate Limahongs,
Who raided towns and coasts,
While vengeful hordes and hosts
Were shouting war-time songs.


Of sailors bold and brave,
Of buccaneer Can Noort,
Morga, who sailed from port
The Spanish flag to save.

And of the years before,
When king was Soliman,
Whose rajah blood outran
To free his native shore.

Here once they held parade
Of saints and flaming torches,
Where now are crumbled churches
And convents all decayed!

Ah, walls that totter must,
Walls of pride and of power,
Living their day and hour,
Only to go to dust.

Walls, olden, ancient walls,
How many memories
And dismal harmonies
To mind your presence calls!

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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