And the Journey Began…Again… - Filipino Journal

And the Journey Began…Again…

And the Journey Began…Again…

(On Commemorating the Death of a Loved One through Poetry)

My maternal grandfather died in 2006. He was 91. I served as his live-in caregiver for almost three years, from my day one in Canada in 2003 to the end of his days. That had been a very prolific period for me as a poet; I was writing at least one poem a day for almost two years. Considering such challenging circumstances, one can imagine the contemplative and honest nature of many of the poems I produced. I remain proud of them.
Here’s one poem I wrote days after Grandfather died. It reflects my unsurprisingly antithetical feelings of sadness and happiness.
Grandfather’s death symbolized two major turning points in my life—freedom from a painstaking family task and the beginning of my independence in Canada.
And, for me, the eighth of July commemorates two important events—the death of a grandfather and the rebirth of a grandson.

At Natapos ang Prusisyón

At si Lolo’y pumanaw na…
Tibok ng puso’y huminto’t
Tuluyan nang di huminga.

‘gang sa huli n’yang hininga,
Ako’y nasa kanyang tabi.
Alay ko’y patak ng luha.

Ako’y nakasisiguro,
Di na s’ya mahihirapan;
Tungo n’ya’y sa paraiso.

Tapos nang pagbabantay ko.
Pamana n’ya’y kalayaan.
Makauusad na ako.

Nakalulungkot isipin
Na si Lolo ay wala na.
Mabigat din sa damdamin.

Hindi ko malilimutan
Iniwan n’yang alaala.
Andami kong natutunan.

S’ya naman ang magsisilbing
Bantay ko paminsan-minsan.
Sa isip minsa’y kapiling.

Di ako dapat kabahan.
Sa panibagong pagsubok,
Lalak’san ang kalooban.

At natapos ang prusisyón.
‘haba ng aking nilakbay.
At muli akong babangon.

Kung may dilim, may liwanag.
Ganyan talaga ang buhay;
Hindi dapat maging duwag.

Kahapon, ngayon, at bukas;
Kahit anupa’ng mangyari,
Walang tigil ang palabas.

Sa muling pakikibaka,
Baon ko ay karanasan,
Sandata ko ay pag-asa.

The Last Leaf
The poem is comprised by 12 stanzas, each of which consists of three lines, and each line of eight syllables (even the title is comprised by eight syllables). Every stanza consistently follows a rhyme scheme of a-b-a. Take note of my having observed again proper punctuation—a poetic feature many poets tend to ignore for various reasons.