FIESTA IN IRIGA

By Luis G. Dato

Ah, Iriga, town by a mountain blue
Or green, depending on how far are you?
There camias white bedeck a placid stream,
And it is sweet of love and life to dream.

Her grassy dells with low hills girded round
In endless summer times with songs resound
Of dawn and eve, of birds and rain and wind,
With every flower trips her gay Spring behind.

Iriga fills her streets on market day
With wares and folk who in the upland stay,
With willing hand to toil and livelong week,
And then go down their Sunday cheer to seek.

Her ancient church reigns still atop a mound,
Above, a grotto where Peace dwells profound,
But meanwhile, like the day’s life streams, unfold
Her traffic lines for all her streets can hold.

Like superb blossoms which the winds incline,
O wondrous chalice whence we quaff life’s wine,
Her gracious maidens, dark of eyes and tress,
Awaken love’s desire, the heart’s distress,

And now is fiesta time, the day each year
When every heart exudes goodwill, good cheer,
Music and dance while swiftly some balloon
Light-heartedly ascends to mock the moon.

Here griefs must fly, here dull care find its ending,
O for the calm and bliss in her haunts blending,
When night is come, the sun the ocean kisses,
And earth is vibrant with bird-songs and hisses!

We part and leave a memory behind,
Of rapture which life seeks but will not find,
O, Iriga, away from your blue hills,
And far from you our heart with sadness fills.

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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