Saturday, September 13, 2014

1 September 1983


sky is a fuse
after long funeral march
from dawn to night

i didn't see the flag-draped coffin
only sea of sun-burnt faces
2 million crowding the narrow streets
to give homage to the fallen man-

his clothes still bloodied
his face unclean from gunshot
that spilled his guts on airport tarmac

i learned for the first time
that a country was worth dying for
that a murdered man can change the course of history

unbroken for 20 years
martial law by a strongman & his family
living in palatial homes when more than 
half of the nation squatted by dirty rivers-

too soon,
hush of the night is over,
sun is brittle egg yoke
rising above smog, burning our weary eyes 

i asked my parents what's coming-
they said,
change, the hopeful winds 
of change

the radio crackles with a voice-
its the only radio station fearlessly
reporting the real news-

we take a deep breath
& wait-






Sulfar

Posted for Imaginary Garden for Real Toads - Sunday's Mini-Challenge:  September Sky
& Artistic Interpretations with Margaret - Mineral Rainbow
& Poets United

My reflections after the assassination of Senator Benigno Acquino in August 21, 1983, which triggered the downfall of the dictatorship of President Marcos, Philippines.   I recall the long funeral march on August 31, and afterwards the changes that slowly came - protest marches, election struggle, civilian heroism versus the military-backed dictatorship.

Yellow was the color of protest (from a homecoming color) in those times.


52 comments:

  1. I know the feeling when dictatorship comes to an end.. The wait for change is sometimes longer than one expects.

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    1. Sometimes the changes that you wish for your motherland takes forever~ Thanks Kerry ~

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  2. Yes, amazing how a country and history can change. And the change isn't always good I found out. Good poem.

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    1. It comes with learning how you navigate your own future ~ Making mistakes is one of them ~ Thanks Pam ~

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  3. changes sometimes happen for good and this was the best for everyone

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    1. Living under the dictatorship was not good for everyone ~ Thanks Vandana ~

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  4. I can only relate to the fall of a dictatorship on an intelectual level - the feeling is something I never had.. However we had our prime-minister shot in the street .. and that has of course stuck in my mind.

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    1. Political rivalries and death were commonplace too ~ The transition can be peaceful or bloody violent ~ Thanks Bjorn ~

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  5. Strong poem, and I like how this dramatic event seen by young eyes found the reflection in ' sun-burnt faces' was in same time the lesson 'that a country was worth dying for'...

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    1. I still remember the lessons of history ~ Thanks humbird ~

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  6. Change we wish for over night but it never happens, a long drawn out and not so peaceful process.

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  7. You've wonderfully captivated the Change that September brings about by the weaving of history & expectation into the season powerfully...

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  8. Thank you for sharing this history, Grace, as seen through your eyes!

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  9. Amazing how you paint this Grace.
    We lived in a dictatorship about 17 years and still we live with injuries of these time.Really difficult still...
    After all these years...

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    1. The country is still reeling from those mistakes with debts, poverty and greed but life goes on ~ At least some of them were punished but others are still free ~ Thanks Gloria ~

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  10. A very moving poem. I knew from the start it must be Acquino--he was just a great man. Thanks for this remembrance. k.

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  11. I lived in the Philippines in 1975-6, so I'm well familiar with the backdrop for this, even though I was long gone by 1983. Thanks for a cool poem and a very cool challenge this weekend.

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    1. This is a revelation for me ~ Thanks Shay ~

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  12. This is a very moving poem, Grace. I am glad that your motherland had its new beginning...I remember these times too.

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  13. Very intense poem. I'm glad you explained what it was about, I was thinking that Canada had more interesting politics than I knew about....

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  14. I like how you mixed the personal with the historical, Grace. It must have been a relief when you started hearing real news rather than selected ones.

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  15. Wow! The juxtaposition of hope and reality is just precious, have a nice Sunday, thanks for stopping over at my blog, re today's post, the dearth is really the absence of birdsong in the blackout, please revisit and read it again

    Much love...

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  16. This was stated very well...all the emotions of the event shined as brightly as your yellow sulfur.

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  17. Of course for me the strongest images are Martin Luther King, JFK and Bobby... and John Lennon. Makes one feel the world is out of control.

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  18. The voice of the child and the answer the parent give - the expectation, the hope of change… and we are left wondering… has anything changed? Nice.

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  19. Thank you for the clarification in your notes. When I reread, my imagination retreated from any protested assassinations to this specific one, and I remember the crowds, the outrage and quailed hopes his death caused. Oh, yes. Wonderful poem for 1 September 1983 events. And a wonderful poem.

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  20. Thank you too for the notes --sometimes I think we watch silently hoping that the truth will find its way to the surface--such a strong write Grace--

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  21. can feel that waiting for change.. it's really a beautiful poem, and the reflection of events.

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  22. Thank you for the process notes that helped put the poem into historical context. What a powerful event to witness as a child. Your recollections are so vivid.

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  23. I remember this event but even though it was a powerful, historical event I don't think it can affect those of us who have never lived under a dictatorship. Very moving emotional words.

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  24. "sun is brittle egg yolk"---what an exquisite description and 'brittle' ties in so well to the brittleness of long-awaited hope after the downfall of a dictator.

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  25. I am afraid my knowledge of history is pretty well confined to what we were taught in high school social studies. So, today you have taught a lady of a certain age something new!
    Kind thanks for visiting us at Poetry of the Netherworld.

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  26. Not a piece of history I am familiar with - well crafted. Thanks for this

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  27. Beautiful to recall that day Grace. it's amazing the courage some have to give their life for good change. Thank you for the exposure to true history.

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  28. the hopeful winds of change..thanks for sharing a bit of your history..I imagine with change their still remains some division.

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  29. Such a moving piece...change is rarely easy. I can remember vividly the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.

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  30. a step by step record skillfully composed.Takes the reader by poetic narrative through history -and the key word is change' how true and so well depicted

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  31. Interesting poem with added historical background. Corruption is a way of life in Asia.

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  32. your poem is so crisply drawn that the memory seems universal, very nice!

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  33. This is one of your most powerful verses, Grace. Just chocked full of imagery. Have a beautiful week and as always, thank you for sharing your talents.

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  34. That goodness for the dissolving of a dictatorship...

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  35. Wonderful ideas you've held here. I can feel it.

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  36. Poignant, Grace...thank you for the challenge and for touching on such an important topic.

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  37. You took me to that time in our history - a lovely remembrance, Grace.

    Yet, looking now at our motherland, I ask "What has really changed?" Perhaps, there is more freedom, but the corruption is as bad as it used to be.

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Thank you for your comments and visit. I appreciate them ~