THE VA MUSE (Los Viejos Alegres)

by Luis Dato

The muse is a grace, a sun and a singing
That encompass the distance of stars and the heart,
A dimension in light and a silver bell ringing
In a cosmos of worlds that have orbits apart -­

And a memory timeless where immaculate flutter
White wings that the infinite spaces aspire,
To the shimmer of light and of song from the gutter
Of earth, with the gift Promethean of fire.

The muse is radiant, she is iridescent,
A glow that suffuses is light of her being
From dark shadow emerging, her form reminiscent
Of bright luminous things that we glory in seeing.

The muse is a lighted window, a brightness
In encompassing night o’er a dark street seen gleaming,
Unextinguishable, a warmth and a whiteness
In a world wrapped in gloom, its rays brilliantly streaming.

At times in an emerald woodland time-haunted
Where chirp such st range doves and the waterfalls warble,
We may find her at dawn in a mountain enchanted,
And our wonder is silence, like words turned to marble.

The muse is a goddess who abodes not in heaven,
But earth, to be close to the vale where we sorrow,
To assuage and to bind a humanity driven
From Eden, and take from the wound the sharp arrow.

The human condition, what unbearable cares
But for her, how somber our griefs if the glitter
Were not in the crown that perennial she wears,
How frustrating our day and our dark life how bitter!

As time comes and passes and locks turn to gray,
The muse is a shrine where our love kneels and lingers
By lit chandeliers, on the dead yesterday
That caresses like touch of beloved tender fingers.

The muse is the past that returns from the never,
As the days that are dead in intermittent flashes
Come back, and we thrill to their magic forever,
Forgetting to knock from our pipe the dead ashes.

Dear muse of the heart, to be near you is rapture,
The dim heavens turn silver that without you were clouded,
A gleam from the darkness, a glory you capture -­
God’s kind revelation from shadows unshrouded.

O muse, be the hand that holds open the portals
Of the vision Elysian whose images twinkle
Till the morrow shall dawn on horizons where mortals
See the fountains unshriveled where age sheds its wrinkle.

Let the present be past, and the dead its dead-bury,
As you live we shall live disregarding the tears,
And so, sweet our muse, let the ages all scurry
Though their flight be remorseless of days and of years.

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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