By Luis G. Dato
(Dedicated to the memory of Baao’s war dead, especially those who perished in the massacre of Agdangan, (San Cayetano), Baao, Camarines Sur, October 17, 1944).
Blessed are the souls that have gone by,
By Japanese monsters crushed to die,
The women who did not survive,
Pregnant, but killed and burned alive.
Blessed are the children burned and killed,
On flaming fires their breath was stilled,
They asked and cried for pardon all,
But Nippons were implacable.
What fatal crimes unpardonable,
In God’s eyes were punishable,
Under men’s law they fell decreed
In Nippon’s reign of horrow, greed?
Their tears of fear were shed in vain,
The innocent were bound and slain,
The Nippons did civilian kills,
Their terror mission to fulfill.
The people oft were herded all,
A conference the Nips would call,
Then soldiers ordered to keep guard,
Atrocities were the reward.
What afterwards remained to sight,
When the smoke disappeared with night,
Were roasted corpses, those who died,
With salvaged utensils beside.
May they in heaven forever rest,
All those who suffered unredressed,
The cause of God and fellowmen
Was theirs, they have not died in vain.