by Luis G. Dato

For once again we saw them, figured, no request
Of those like us enchanted, their eyes to charm and rest,
And those from San Fernando, Ingkoy-Ingkoy danced well,
They moved in faultless rhythm, and wove round us a spell.

The bows so ceremonial, they spoke of better days,
Urbanity and breeding and modest, chastened ways;
The very music filled us with longing for the past
When our forbears were living in ways that could not last.

And then came Menla’s troopers, the little, light-stepped elves,
Whose grace and bow and courtesy made us forget ourselves,
And for the time we lived not upon this earth, it seemed,
But in the haunts the poets in dreams have ever dreamed.

Alejo Arce’s subjects could hold the rest at bay,
In pinggan-pinggan dances of a more urbane day,
Their costumes were not hard to our jaded, weary eyes,
And for their grace of movement were worth indeed the price.

There was this time no rainbow and not a hint of rain,
No doubt because the rainbow knew it had naught to gain,
And rain was out of question, it did not have the heart
To spell the wondrous vision that ne’er from us shall part.

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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