Chainus

Eveline Chainus Guirey, Queen of the Benguet Carnival in 1915
Eveline Chainus Guirey, Queen of the Benguet Carnival in 1915

Where is your silver tea set, that gown of fine
embroidered silk, its train of gauze?

Ropes of pearl wound at your neck,
your tiara’s ruby diadem offset by the dark

waterfall of your hair— so self-
possessed, your bearing wrought by mountain

life, cold air, knowledge of the vengeful gods
whose hungers root, white and deep, hard

within the writhing animal’s entrails.
Askance, you look upon the roaring crowd

at carnival, eight thousand strong who’ve come
to gape at such uncommon beauty. You know the fog

will sift and bloom through centuries,
lay cloudy vermeil upon dissolving bones.

And we wonder if, beneath the city streets
breast-plated with garbage, the blood of some

old sacrifice still smolders, slow
flame the rain can’t quench.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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3 Comments


  1. Chainus would feel so honored by your lovely tribute not only to her but also to her people and culture.

    Reply

  2. Great image and poem.
    Makes you wish you could pull her out of the painting to walk tall here and now.
    (The link to the Morning Porch connection is not working.)

    Reply

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