November 27, 2012

More Poems of Angela Manalang Gloria

A lot of pageviews from my blog comes from one singular source: an entry about Angela Manalang Gloria.  So to celebrate her lyricism and people's interest in her life and works, here are several more poems that are not found floating in the internet. Bon apetit!

The Score

I have a standing score to reckon
With you before I'm done
With love and all the false pretences
That holds to the sun.
Not that you tried to break my body
With an endemoned lust,
Nor that you willed to break my spirit
And pinioned it to dust.



Pain at my side has been a sharp reminder
  I must not love too much or cry
For brighter suns and firmaments to bind, or
  I shall surely die.

I could be free for honeyed light and laughter,
  But O this pain that lashes long
To slip into my hungry senses after--
  the sustenance of song!


The Debt

Oh I have been so near to Death,
  So near it held me by the hand
And taught me as Life never had
  To weave a rope of shining sand,

For Death was kind and more than kind:
  When my first terror slipped away,
It rolled the lid from off my night
  And burned my coffin into day;

And it was good to breath again
  The little breath it gave to me
And see with Death-awakened eyes
  Enchantment sitting on a pea

And wonder ripening on thorns;
  It was enough, enough to be!
I am beholden unto Death
  For giving back my self to me!



Out of the roots of agony and pain
Life in my limbs now flowers to the sky.
Who dare encompass all that sun and rain
Can compass, will find it not so wide and high

At this immensity that leans to poise
Upon the fervent music of my blood.
Nothing can crush me now or stem my voice:
I bear upon my breast the very kiss of God.


1940 A.D.


We heard it whirring through the air
Like some primordial, thundered word.
We sought to flee it everywhere
Yet everywhere it stirred.

Voiceless from palavers of peace,
We watched the nameless horror grow
Watch it till, glazed beyond release,
Our eyes see neither friend nor foe.


Talk of the sun that redly burned
With glory in Homeric skies!
That was no sun, but gore once urned
And alchemied with epic lies,

Not glory, but catastrophic dust,
The sad eclipse of flesh and bone,
The twilight of the mind that must
Yield to exigencies of stone.


There is no bright Apocalypse
In this despair whereon to cling,
Save that, in durance vile, the lips
Break into prayer for another spring.

Now, go and buy Angela Manalang Gloria: A Literary Biography from the ADMU Press before it goes out of print.