By Luis G. Dato

I dreamed of when when from life exiled,
I ranged alone the solitude of thought,
Fairy or faun, perverse, of aspect mild,
She came unbid, or with much sorrow sought.

Under a quiet garden, roofed with trees,
Pensive and still, she sat in revery,
While through the boughs, the eye with transport sees,
Red with its clouds, the twilight in the sky.

At times, the holy hour of Angelus comes,
And finds her, beads in hand, an amorous mind,
Speaking to Him, as shadowy evening hums
Immortal hymning in the mournful wind.

Formed like a statue, cast with graceful limb
And slender hand, with hair disparting wild,
She seemed, in company, from sorrow limned,
‘Mid the red laughter of the world, a child

Of tears, of melancholy, and of sighs,
And dream impossible that ceased to dream,
A flower, without perfume, that will rise
To bloom and die unnoticed by the stream.

The dawn is alien to her who is sister
Of night, and daughter of the sun at eve,
The zephyr at an early hour had wooed her,
But love but vexed her who was meant to grieve,

For whom the flowers of the earth were chalice
Only of tears, and all its sunshine, rain,
For whom the wind that swept the odorous valleys
Was but the voice, the memory of pain.

Yet when the sun is bright on cloudless days,
And earth is fresh with newly-fallen rain,
I see her leave her chair, aside, she lays
Her book away, and by her window-pane

Surveys with joyous eye the high, red hills,
The fiery clouds erupting with a cry,
Against the prison of the invisible rills
And the black earth, to bloom far up the sky!

Or the brown stubble of the plain that shines
Against the light, and quivers in the wind,
The gold, rice cones, the cottage, green with vines,
Behind, the hills, and the blue skies, behind;

Or, on a showering morning when the sun,
Golden and bright, shows through the branches green,
She stands, hair loose, and with the wind undone,
Beauty looked at by beauty rarely seen;

Or when the Angelus at evening sounds,
Mournful and low, above the dreaming dell,
Breast-high with rose, she kisses the warm wounds
Of petals ere they fade and bid farewell.

She is the soul of flame and song that moves
With light among the gardens of the earth,
A star of day, that one sees not but loves,
With the joint love the suns and stars call forth.

At times, she is a vulgar plaything of the street,
Gliding in music on the wine-soused floor,
And when our eyes in one swift moment meet,
I know that she is Satan’s, mine no more.

Pensive or pagan, wild, or shut within
My vale of fancy, with old dreams o’ergrown,
She changes as I change, a muse, a sin
My dream of women, multiple yet one.

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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