by Luis G. Dato

Act in the living present, poets say
To make the morrow better than today,
Alas! the Catholic apostolate
We let it down to mourn a better fate.

Because to meet there is no better world,
We hear no call, no challenge to us hurled,
“To mould it nearer to the hearts desire,”
To spread God’s gospel we do not aspire.

We turn complacent or we only see
The world as oyster for the selfish me,
A tinker’s damn we do not wish to give
To those who in the abyss of misery live.

And cowards all, we want not to create
More enemies, especially the great,
We are not men but mice, let others thirst
For God and truth, our motto: “Safety First!”

For what we are but the materialist
Who does not one good deed for Jesus Christ! —
The pleasures of the flesh our only sin,
No Catholics at all, except in name.

Where now among us, Catholics, the faith
That mountains move and conquer even death?
Where now the urge the world to renovate
And bring the Christendom a better fate?

To us what matter God should fulminate
Against a world immersed in greed and hate?
We cross our fingers at high heaven’s wrath,
And as before elect the usual path.

O God! give us our faith, make us believe
That only in Your service we may live,
Greater, more real than the world You are
From those hands came the cosmos, star by star.

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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