Kundiman

Here I am trying to remember the name
of a song my mother was learning to sing
—in the evenings she’d ask me to play
accompaniment on the piano: a kundiman,
kung hindi man, if only, if not, if never,
song of always unrequited love, this one
about a lover on his deathbed, pining
only for one last sight of the beloved.
Does it end well? Lyrically, none of them do.
Musically, the voice is a triumph as it scales
the walls of growing sorrow. She will not look.
She will give her heart to another. She will not
be made to love under duress. The moon will float
above it all, its face streaked ash and silver.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Moss gatherer.

Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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