By Luis G. Dato

I slept in the frenzy
And delirium of men and their cities.
Close by the streets and the cross-ways of traffic,
Deep in the waste of houses

Where multitudes unsmiling are homeless,’
Mouldered the hut of my life, care-deserted,
Of a haven of slumber and open-eyed sleep,
Of peace for my soul.

To the world and its whirling of men in disorder,
To the riot of manifold unvaried activities
From the pain of birth to the pleasure of death.
I lived not.

I slept for the peace of my soul.
Ears I had but I heard not
The clamor of tells from churches and towers of stone,
I heard not the clink of metal,

The groaning of iron
With the weight of passengers and wheels of iron,
The whistle from long-throated chimneys,
The siren of sound and smoke from the piers.

To the clanking of steel,
To the hissing of vapor from pent-up boilers
In the shops on the street, in the ships on the stream,
To the thud of machines against factory walls,

And of trucks on the adamant road in the open,
To the motley news-boys shrieking,
And the rabble of crowds on the street, on the square,
In a rush of commotion and fury

To the sounds, discordant, erratic, out of tune,
Cadenceless, out of time,
I was rock, unresponsive, alien, remote,
They were silence

And echoes sepulchral of silence in tombs.
Life that stirred from the vitals of creatures
Howling and wakeful in graves….
Death that returned with the ebb and recession

Of life-refusing love
These to me meant nothing,
when confusion was all they could mean.
Love that was hatred merely,

Hatred begotten of love unrequited,
Pity self seeking, self.centered,’ selfish,
Friendship of hearts that were hollow of feeling,
Passions let loose

And cravings run wild,
These were the forces of fire and power titanic
Oppressing the flesh of a spirit rebellious
For freedom of pleasure,

For freedom from pain.
I slept forgetful of self,
Unconcerned about others living for their own
In a half-mad world.

Of desire unmindful,
Forgetting care and canker and chaos,
I slept with Endymion, loved of the moon, perpetual,
In the wilderness of cities,
In the wasteland of war.

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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