THE LANES OF ERMITA

By Luis G. Dato

I am longing for the gardens of an Eden far away,
Where the dream of quaint, rose alleys meets the murmur of the bay,
And the dream of this nostalgia loudly through my spirit beats,
For the rumbling of the car-lines, and the patter down the streets.

Quaint and picturesque Ermita, like a perfume from the wind,
Comes back with the scent of gardens by the swaying lilies linded,
And the sweeping petals ·fallen of the pale kamuning flowers,
Fell where winds in their carousing roused the rose-tipped floral bowers.

There is borne like patterns changing in a summer sea of leaves,
Frail and crystalline mosaics which the dew at dawning weaves,
And adown the cool, bright waters nibbling goldfish ever gloat,
On the fair array of lilies by the luscent pools afloat.

Once when dawn was in the offing still uncertain if to stir,
And, upon the numbed ether, I heard silver pinions whir,
From its bed of quiet dreaming some coy blossom soft arose,
To awaken weary Zephyr from an evening long repose.

Everywhere the gay mestizas in their figure quaintly slim,
Each as fragile as a fresco and as gracious as a whim,
Leave behind the perfumed sidewalk where the white rose-petals lie,
New nostalgias for romances borne upon an idle sigh.

I hear still at dawn the summons of the golden-throated bells,
And the liquid diapason which at Christmas merry wells,
See the fragrant, swinging censers and the altar’s mellow fire,
While in rhythm sways the chorus with the organ up the choir;

Bee the crimson-toned umbrellas prancing past a dropping bough,
And the yellow mirasoles nodding idly row on row,
And the rosy-tinted heaven which in cloudlets gay unreels,
While the streets are in a jargon with a clatter of red heels.

Quaint and picturesque Ermita, even where my steps have strayed,
I shall think anew of moonbeams which above your gardens played,
Muse of ocean-echoing orchards and the rumbling of the rails,
Which will part away at sunset and lead on to happier trails.

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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