Monday, July 31, 2017

Requiem for a Dying Poet

By Ophelia Alcantara Dimalanta
Soon you will finally lay
To rest this poet dying
Of a broken quill for already
In the heart of the hearth
Of his mind no longer fire
But ashes flick about randomly.

For he has already been consigned
To the ignominy of little moments,
Shifting along margins of experience
Feet lagging behind senses
And senses dragged behind his will,
Ready to go.  To be puffed out
Like a guttering candle.

He is finally dying well unto his death
Panic coming easy now, afraid
To trip lest he breaks his leg.
To love lest his ligaments tear,
Deaf to sounds darkness makes
Upon an inner centering; sad that
Life has settled into a dreadful,
Cold, cold calm, a scurry of little
Needs, faceless minutiae and
Timorous appeasements and
Upheavals, like skies have become
Too timid to dip riverward and
Clouds afraid to gather into a storm,
Baring but slightly one part,
Touching but gingerly, surfing
Nets of cursory interactives, bios
Anonymous, no collision of parts
To ignite a blinding, no lines
Nor loins burning, no treads on
Grounds plundered into one
Cataclysmic shaking.
No flames charring this limp wood
Into possible deep limning.

The poet as petite is dead
Long live poetry.  ~

A rare photo of Dr Ofelia Dimalanta with Dr Abe V Rotor (left) who won two awards for his books, Living with Nature Series the Gintong Aklat Award, and the National book Award. At her left are Fr, Joseto N Bernades OP and Dr Armando F De Jesus, regent and former dean respectively, of the Faculty of Arts and Letters of UST

The late Dr Ophelia A . Dimalanta was all of poet, critic, academician. As poet, she published six books of poetry, namely: Montage, The Time Factor, Flowing On, Lady Polyester, Love Woman and Passional. Aside from collections of poetry, she published a book on literary criticism, The Philippine Poetica, play in two acts, Lorenzo Ruiz, Escribano, five textbooks on literature. She was widely anthologized not only in the Philippines but also in the United States, Russia, Germany, Taiwan, Japan, and Thailand. She won almost all literary awards in the country, and among, a lecture grant at the prestigious Modern Languages Association in Chicago, and the prominently, the SEA WRITE award given to Outstanding Southeast Asian Writers. She was chosen one of the one hundred outstanding women of the country, as part of the Centennial celebration. As critic, she was a founding member of the Manila Critics Circle which gives out the National Book Awards annually. Professor Dimalanta was dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters of UST for nine years, while concurrently holding the position of Director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Studies. Full Professorship at the UST Graduate School.

NOTE: This poem was published in Tomas, the Literary Journal of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Studies, Issue 1, Vol, 1 February 2000

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