Featured Writer Marra PL. Lanot: One Poem

Soldier’s Song

Let the hills and mountains
Roll up behind me like
The tangled past of a jungle.
Let a rose grow when
I lay down my gun
Where the desert meets the shore.

I long to throw away
This mask of maleness,
All male desire to kill,
To spit the blood, the sour –
Ness balled in my mouth.
I have forgotten the face
Of my mother, sister, niece.
All I see are trenches
Hate burrowed in my brother’s face,
His eyes, two barrels of a gun
Unleashing bullets.
I have learned that foes
May become friends tomorrow
And friends my foes tonight.

This season I may own a
Bowl of rice, next year
I might bite a fruit
Or have a new dress
Or a roof over our heads.
But I remember home
Each time a child
Presses a cheek to mine
Or even when a horse
Gives birth and goats
Cavort in a manger.

Let the hills and mountains
Roll up behind me like
The tangled past of a jungle.
Let a rose grow when
I lay down my gun
Where the desert meets the shore.

-Marra PL. Lanot

 

‘Soldier’s Song’ by Marra PL. Lanot was first published in Asiaweek and then included in Marra’s fourth collection of poetry, Witch’s Dance at Iba Pang Tula sa Filipino at Español (2000, Anvil Publishing). Marra PL. Lanot is a multilingual poet who wrote ‘Soldier’s Song’ in English. Witch’s Dance contains in poems written in English, Tagalog, and Spanish. Rochford Street Review is proud to republish ‘Soldier’s Song’ with the permission of the author.


 

Marra PL. Lanot. photograph by Ed Lejano
Marra PL. Lanot. photograph by Ed Lejano

Marra PL. Lanot is a Filipino poet, essayist, and a freelance journalist who writes in Filipino, English, and Spanish. She has published several books, including five collections of poetry, three collections of profiles, and a book of essays, in addition to co-writing several teleplays. She previously taught literature, creative writing, and film at the University of the Philippines, her alma mater. She also served as Associate Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines as well as Board Member of the Movie and Television Rating and Classification Board. She has won several awards for her work, including the Catholic Mass Media Award, and the prestigious Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. She received second prize for Poetry in the Palanca Awards for her first collection of poetry, Sheaves of Things Burning (1967). Her fifth collection of poetry, Riding the Full Moon in Filipino and Spanish, continues to demonstrate her ability to write in multiple languages as does her forthcoming collection, Cadena de Amor, New and Selected Poems in English, Filipino, and Spanish, due to be published this year.

 

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