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Novelist, playwright, journalist, labour leader and poet laureate of the Philippines Amado V Hernandez (1903-1970) spent years in prison because of political persecution.


Earth

Amado V Hernandez

I was christened

by the enemy,

stripped naked of name and liberty;

Ravished

in a cruel cage, on this lonely rock.

Cold, this rock-cradle

of pain,

for a weakened heart it is like the clutch of the grave.

No intrusion here

of wind, sunlight - and no dawn.

Tears nourished me,

The earth was my mat, in turn, too hot, too cold;

how dark the sky

shrouded by a thousand sorrows in the night!

With pain beyond endurance,

I saluted

the power of noble earth.

What miracle is this?

Heart and soul cried out at this Promethean power.

I am vowed

To vigil;

Earth is the beginning of all things,

Out of it come

the seed of green hope and life's ripening.

Translated by E San Juan, Jr.

*Third World Resurgence No. 324/325, August/September 2017, p 68


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