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.


This entry was posted in Featured Writer, Issue 24, Marra PL. Lanot and tagged , , , , , by Zalehah Turner. Bookmark the permalink.

About Zalehah Turner

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based poet, photographer, cultural journalist, and Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review (RSR). Zalehah regularly contributes articles and interviews on poetry, art, film, and new media for RSR and the UTS magazine, Vertigo. Zalehah’s poetry was projected onto the Federation Square Wall in Melbourne as part of the Overload Poetry Festivals, 2008 and 2009; exhibited at Mark and Remark ,107 Projects, Redfern in 2013; and displayed in Alice Springs and Moruya thanks to Australian Poetry Café poets, Laurie May and Janette Dadd respectively. Her poems have been published in Writing Laboratory (2013), Sotto (2013), Social Alternatives (2016), Vertigo (2016, 2017), UTS’s The Empathy Poems Project (2017) and Rochford Street Review (2017). She co-judged the New Shoots Poetry Prizes 2016 alongside, Tamryn Bennett, Artistic Director of The Red Room Company, and published the winning and highly commended poems. Zalehah is currently working on an intermedia poetry collection entitled, 'Critical condition', focused on the interstitial threshold between life and death in medical crises based on personal experience. Zalehah holds a BA in Communication with a major in writing and cultural studies from the University of Technology, Sydney where she continues to pursue pushing the boundaries of multimedia poetry in Honours (Communication- Creative Writing).

2 thoughts on “Featured Writer Marra PL. Lanot: One Poem

  1. Pingback: Featured Writer Marra PL. Lanot: Biographical Note | Rochford Street Review

  2. Pingback: ISSUE 24. Double Issue October 2017 – March 2018 | Rochford Street Review

Comments are closed.