February 19, 2006

Poems of Angela Manalang Gloria

Through life, I have never been a poem-lover so to speak. The only ones I've appreciated are those by authors who wrote classical and lyrical poems- the ones that are strict with the meters, the rhymes and so forth. I enjoy my poems structured, because it represent order and talent. It's like comparing Picasso and Rembrandt on the merits of their technical acumen to which I am biased towards the latter. My only idols in this genre are: Edgar Allan Poe, Rudyard Kipling, and Jose Rizal. Now, I shall add to the list the illustrious Angela Manalang Gloria (1915 - 1996).

Her poems are almost song-like but full of wit and wisdom. Since she was a feminist during the colonial years, her works are centered mostly from a woman's point of view. Even that is such the case, her talent resonates in everyone who reads them. Her biography can be read here in PinoyLit.

I have collected her hard-to-come-by poems floating in the net because hers are quite rare to find. She has only published one book called Poems (1940) and it's out of stock. So, sit back and enjoy some of her better known ouerves.

Old Maid Walking on a City Street* (1950)

She had a way of walking through concupiscence
And past the graces her fingers never twirled:
Because her mind refused the heavy burden,
Her broad feet shovelled up the world.

Querida* (1940)

The door is closed, the curtains drawn within
One room, a brilliant question mark of light...
Outside her gate an empty limousine
Waits in the brimming emptiness of night.

Revolt From Hymen** (1940)

O to be free at last, to sleep at last
As infants sleep within the womb of rest!

To stir and stirring find no blackness vast
With passion weighted down upon the breast,

To turn the face this way and that and feel
No kisses festering on it like sores,

To be alone at last, broken the seal
That marks the flesh no better than a whore's!

Any Woman Speaks*** (1940)

Half of the world's true glamour
Is held--you know by whom?
Not by the gilt Four Hundred
Parading in perfume,

Nor by the silvered meteors
That light the celluloid sky--
But by these eyes that called you,
Blind fool who passed me by!

Ermita in the Rain*** (1940)

It is not the rain that wanly
Sobs its tale across the bay,
Not the sobs of lone acacias
Trembling darkly in the gray,

Not the groans of harried breakers
Flinging tatters on the shore,
But the phantom of your voice that
Stays me dreaming at my door.

Soledad*** (1940)

It was a sacrilege, the neighbors cried,
The way she shattered every mullioned pane
To let a firebrand in. They tried in vain
To understand how one so carved from pride
And glassed in dream could have so flung aside
Her graven days, or why she dared profane
The bread and wine of life for some insane
Moment with him. The scandal never died.

But no one guessed that loveliness would claim
Her soul's cathedral burned by his desires
Or that he left her aureoled in flame…
And seeing nothing but her blackened spires,
The town condemned this girl who loved too well
and found her heaven in the depths of hell.

Words*** (1940)

I never meant the words I said,
So trouble not your honest head
And never mean the words I write,
But come and kiss me now goodnight.

The words I said break with the thunder
Of billows surging into spray:
Unfathomed depths withhold the wonder
Of all the words I never say.

Cementerio del Norte****
To the memory of Consuelo

And so, it all must come to this—a dying afternoon,
Thin cerements of rain around the forlorn ghost of weeping,
White tombs so desolately splendid, a priestly monotone
Drifting in sacramental grace, and then—the final sleeping.

What else is there to say? (The last word has been said too soon
For you and all the golden hopes once minted for your keeping)
White tombs so desolately splendid, bone unto alien bone,
What else is there to say, now that the sleepless dead are sleeping?

* Missives from the Teacher
Babaylan Speaks
Best Philippine Short Stories Index


Anonymous said...

THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!!! I've looking for the revolt of hymen and old maid walking on a city street.. thanks!!! coz i'll be using it for my paper..

Anonymous said...

thank you very much for posting angela manalang-gloria's poems.. you made my life easier to manage.. hahaha!!:)

Anonymous said...

Would you like to add this? This is the first poem of hers that I read, and its appeal has not dulled one bit since I read it:

To a Lost One

I shall haunt you, O my lost one, as the twilight
Haunts a grieving bamboo trail,
And your dreams will linger strangely with the music
Of a phantom lover’s tale.

You shall not forget, for I am past forgetting.
I shall come to you again
With the starlight, and the scent of wild champakas,
And the melody of rain.

You shall not forget. Dusk will peer into your
Window, tragic-eyed and still,
And unbidden startle you into remembrance
With its hand upon the sill.

Other versions has "reed-entangled" instead of "grieving bamboo"; the meter is preserved either way.

Anonymous said...

hello..just wanted to ask kung ano ung ibig sabihin ng old maid walking on a city street...i couldn't understand it...

Jules said...

sa akin it shows that beauty has been wasted through the years... hehehehe... i think

LoVeLyGiRL said...

do all querida's are not permanent? how do you say so?
answer my question please..
email me at lovelygirl2491@yahoo.com
thank you..

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot. I'm gonna need to do a report on Angela Manalang Gloria for our Lit Class. This site is a big help...

Anonymous said...

They have a copy of PEOMS at the DLSU-main library. Only one copy. I saw 2 copies about 8 years ago at National Bookstore and I wasn't able to buy it because it costs P400 and I only had P200. Now, as you've said, the book is always out of stock. Ah regret.

Anonymous said...

guyz, help me analyze the poem querida pliez...

Anonymous said...

hey., can someone help me analyze "TO
A LOST ONE"? plz!

Anonymous said...

can you pls. explain the metaphors found in the poem soledad? thanky you..

Anonymous said...

check out another one of her works.


Perhaps the years will get me after all,
Though I have sought to cheat them of their due
By documenting in beauty’s name my soul
And locking out of sight my revenue
Of golden rapture and of sterling tears,
Let others give to Caesar Caesar’s own:

I have begrudged the dictatorial years
The right usurious to tax me to the bone,
Therefore behold me now, a Timon bent
On hoarding each coin of love that should be spent
On you and you, and hushing all display
Of passionate splendour lest I betray
My wealth, lest the sharp years in tithes retrieve
Even the heart not worn upon my sleeve.

Ang Hell sa Lupa said...

Was "To The Man I Married" also included in Poems? Hay, that's book's part of my wishlist :f

Anonymous said...

can somebody interpret the meaning of the poem QUERIDA pls!!!!! anyway, 09298007989 is my #.. tnx in advance!

Anonymous said...

how about the interpretation or analyzation of the poem WORDS?

Anonymous said...

hey, may assignment kami about revolt from hymen and angmaging babae ni Ruth Mabanglo.. help i need a comparative analysis of the poems and apply the feminist approach on our analysis.. any help will be appreciated...

Anonymous said...

what is the meaning of "music of a phantom lover's tale"?

Anonymous said...

can you give me the interpretatio of the poem "words"?

khimz said...

hello..can anybody give me an interpretation of the "revolt from the hymen"???..thanks...

Anonymous said...

The door is closed, the curtains drawn within
One room, a brilliant question mark of light...
Outside her gate an empty limousine
Waits in the brimming emptiness of night.

>>>interpret it literally;
the poem setting is during midnight when all are sleeping,but the speaker observed a room with lights on-since its midnight it is questionable that someone is still awake in the olden times..and a car is parked outside her gate,and is empty..would mean someone is in the house that does not live in that house...since this poem was written in the olden times, having a mistress is kept secret...that's why people involved see each other during night.

Anonymous said...

Lovely. Gonna use her poems for our rap rendition.

Anonymous said...

.thank you you help me a lot i need this poems for my project.its a big help for me.again thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

does angela gloria had a poem of " A sigh in the dark" ?