LIGHTS ON THE AVENUE

By Luis G. Dato

And this will pass to nothingness: These lights
That change to day the avenue’s dark nights,
And beauty, too, because it will grow old
The extinct crater of the heart turned cold.

Tomorrow dies and quondam love is dead,
No catafalque, and soon lies buried,
The sultry city dries up, long a lake
Of hot desire but blessed for sweet love’s sake.

Where will youth fly, and where is passion flown?
With sorrow ‘tis not well to be alone,
And drop by bitter drop are shed the tears
Till they fall down the corridor of years.

Keen for the prey, why does my gorge so rise
At the world’s unabashed harlotries?
High-heeled, tight-fitted, they are spruced for slaughter,
Scented as sin, eve’s every breathing daughter.

In jeeps, in theaters, the swarming street,
In lightless hovels reached by sinful feet,
They mill about, incessant cavalcade,
Fling their appointed second and then fade.

What thighs of alabaster and what breasts
Are these, volcanic and with tremulous crests?
What short-stepped gait, what cheongsammed, swaying hips,
What painted lids, what luster of the lips?

They are so many – Psyche, oh, must know –
Against which Cupid bends unerring bow;
Mother of God, o mother of dear of sorrows.
How close the mark, how instant fly the arrows!

And they shall pass, day turn to sudden night,
Obliterate the boulevard of light.
The whirligig, the mad, mad masquerade
And the procession of the loveless dead.

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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