I was thinking in Tagalog when I was composing this poem. An English translation is provided at the bottom of this poem. Pardon the hiccup at the end of the last stanza of the English version.
ANG NGITI NG ISANG PILIPINO
Singtingkad ng araw sa papawirin
ang biyayang ngiti na kanyang angkin
nagbibigay liwanag saan man siya naroon
sa tambakan ng Payatas, o sa isang mansiyon
sa disyerto ng Arabia, o pamantasan sa London.
Hindi kumukupas ang kanyang ngiti
humagipit man ang bagyo
siya ma’y magdalamhati
Iyo’y sisikat at sisikat, muling magniningning
tulad ng araw, kahit langit ay madilim
at ang kanyang ngiti, magiging halakhak
kasinglaya ng ibon sa pag-imbulog sa ulap
Nakapagtataka – kay saya niyang tingnan
kahit siya’y salat sa gintong yaman
Maari kayang ang ngiting taglay
ay tanda ng yamang sa puso nakahimlay
Kay rami ng naghahanap ng kaligayahan
‘di kaya’t ito ang tunay niyang yaman?
THE FILIPINO’S SMILE
As warm as the sun in the sky
is the warmth of his smile
giving light wherever he is –
in the dumps of Payatas, or in a mansion
in the deserts of Arabia,
or universities in London.
His smile doesn’t fade
though hurricanes lash about
or sorrow grips his heart
The smile will shine and be bright again
just as the sun rises,
even when the skies are dim
and then the smile will turn to laughter
as free as the birds soaring in the air.
It’s bewildering – how happy he seems
even when he lacks material things
Could it be that the smile he has
speaks of a treasure kept in the heart
So many are searching for joy
wouldn’t that be his true riches?
For Dverse Poets’ Pub’s Poetics prompt. 🙂 I had a hard time with this prompt – thank God for the article in a Dubai paper about the Filipinos’ smile. One of my FB friends posted about it yesterday morning. This is for you, Kelvin, my little ‘brother’ who can smile even when you are suffering from SJS syndrome.
Thank you for coming by. 🙂