by Luis G. Dato
Baao, Camarines Sur

The question might be asked: “Why do we have
A King and Queen, and we, each like a slave
Bow to the court and our allegiance give?”
Why do we to say, “The King and Queen, long live!”?
The truth is that though kings and queens depart.
We secretly are monarchies at heart,
And in unguarded moments put on wings
To muse on the divine right of the kings.

The reason? Ah we are unhappy men,
And our democracy, corrupt and vain,
Has answered not our inmost wish supreme,
So of the past and brighter world we dream,
The older ones their sorrows drown in wine,
The young with dreams to meet their Valentine,
In worlds where men were brave and women fair,
And life was happiness undimmed by Care;

The days when love of man and fear of God
Made of the earth a heavenly abode,
When honor ruled the conduct of the state,
Its subjects asking for no better fate,
The days when God it seemed with us near,
Unknown the wolf of want and phantom fear,
When virtue reigned supreme in every home,
And afterwards –the bliss of Kingdom Come.

The reign of beauty –’tis a reign forever,
A mighty spring that turning to a river
Flows past the changing vales of memory
Into the sunlight of a sapphire sea;
For beauty is a rose that does not wither,
A fragrant flowering that carries hither
Its whispers redolent with young desire,
And lifts the heart to roam with wings of fire.

The beauty sovereign whereof we’re speaking
Elusive slips away from t he world’s seeking,
Its magic far beyond the reach of hands.
To beckon love from the most distant lands;
And poems for her are music, not just words,
That pierce the heart with suddenness of swords,
The sensient heart, and not the thinking brain,
Or else the sound of music falls in vain.

And so, therefore , count it as no surprise,
That now the poet chants to eulogize,
Ana deems it honor high and greatest pleasure
To descant here in Shakespeare’s fulsome measure;
To you, the Queen, we owe however fleeting
The happiness of this so gracious meeting,
A memory, not for one day or hour,
But for all time, for such is beauty’s power.

And when this night is gone, the cavalcade
To join of hours that do not stay but fade
Into the limbo of forgotten things,
Let this bright night of stars remind of kings
And their fair queens whose grace has lit the past,
Beneath whose aegis history was cast,
And if we suffer, late or soon to die,
We still can dream beneath their brighter sky.

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