Where

(translation of Rebecca T. Añonuevo’s “Sa Diin”)

For what is a chair
if no one shall sit?
For what is the pencil
if no one writes?
For what purpose is a book
that no one will open?
For what is a song
no voices will make soar?
For what is a tug of war
when no one is left to pull the rope?

For what is to own land
if one is driven away?

For what is the grain
if no one is filled?
For what are the fields
if they are watered with blood?
For what is the fine woven cloth
when the wearer has been destroyed?
For what purpose is the Maker
when all the nurtured are gone?
What use is the poem
to those sprawled on the ground?

Diin

Para saan ang silya
kung walang mauupo?
Para saan ang lapis
kung walang magsusulat?
Para saan ang aklat
kung walang magbubuklat?
Para saan ang awit
kung walang iilanglang na tinig?
Para saan ang banlak
kung wala nang hihila sa lubid?

Para saan ang sariling lupa
kung mauuwing bakwit?

Para saan ang bigas
kung walang mabubusog?
Para saan ang bukid
kung dugo ang pandilig?
Para saan ang tabih
kung wakwak na ang magsusuot?
Para saan si Magbabaya
kung naubos na ang inaruga?
Para saan ang tula
para sa nakabulagta?

11 Setyembre 2015
#StopLumadKillings

Rebecca T. Añonuevo is a poet, educator, translator, and the author of six collections of poetry in Filipino, all of which have won prizes from the prestigious Don Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature; as well as National Book Award citations and nominations. She is the Philippine recipient of the 2013 S.E.A. Write Awards from the Royalty in Bangkok, Thailand. Rebecca and Luisa have previously collaborated on poetry translations (Filipino-English, English-Filipino).

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