By Luis G. Dato

Manila is a woman smiling through a mask of paint,
Breasts irradiant with cosmic challenges
And invitations to the rivers and the meadows of the explorable infinite,
An urgency at an intersection
With a clique of clubbing ruffians from behind.

Manila is a courtyard with quiet flowers
And unobstrusive walls,
A symphony in stone and wheels and sun
Blinking through roofs and grills,
Ending in an arc of blue sky.

A wilderness of streets dripping with blasphemy and imprecation of drivers,
A deceiver for faces appearances, distances, similarities,
A mendicant of habeas corpus and corpses,
A pandemonium, a morgue, a shrine,
A bus driver counting out his bills,
Malacañang, preposterously a symbol of national unity and the four anti-communist  Freedoms.
A city where God lives once.

For Manila is a sprig of orchids in a roof-garden above the smoke and noise.

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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