Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wala lang magawa

Pasyong Mahal Ni San Jose

Pait, katam at martilyo,
ibubulong ko sa inyo
ang masaklap kong sikreto:
hindi ko pa inaano
ay buntis na ang nobya ko.

Ang sabi ng anghel, wala
akong dapat ikahiya,
walang dahilang lumuha;
dapat pa nga raw matuwa
pagkat Diyos ang gumahasa.

Martilyo, katam at pait,
makukuha bang magalit
ng karpintero? Magtiis.
Ang mahina at maliit,
wala raw laban sa langit.
--Jose F. Lacaba

The poem starts as an address poem as it murmurs to the pait, katam at martilyo which represent an artist’s tools used to mould life into his works. Works that had been continuously been misused, dictated upon and bereft of their true value as they have been serving the pleasures of a despot.

The poem is obviously a protest against the dictatorship of the Marcos tandem, the gods in Philippine soil during the 70’s. Using St. Joseph and his ordeal upon hearing the news that his fiancĂ©e was pregnant albeit the absence of carnal knowledge as a metaphor, the poet illustrates the carnage wrought by the Marcos government of the country’s economy and most of all, the pillage of Philippine culture as has been managed and manipulated by the self-professed patroness of the Arts, Imelda.

The third stanza talks about the crony or puppet, who, with his gift of gab, appeases the artist and not complain and on the contrary, be thankful because the gods has bestowed their blessings to his art.

The fourth stanza is inevitable. The lowly artist cannot do anything but to suffer for after all, beggars cannot choose but succumb to the will of the mighty.
While the poem was directed towards the seventies, it is interesting to note that this can still happen in a country where people who has arrogated to themselves the power of the gods, rule the affairs of government. A few years back, the National Press Club received flak for its censorship of a painting they themselves commissioned to celebrate press freedom in the country. They commissioned neo-Angono artists to make a mural but later on asked someone else to make alterations on the mural prior to its inauguration as they found several objectionable details which they thought were critical of PGMA and her policies in government.

Unfortunately, Lacaba’s poem will always be relevant as long as we have people whose myopic views only allow pictures that will not leave a sour taste in their sour-infested mouths. The poem will always be relevant in a land governed by people who govern by might and not by mind for always, the arts will be there to question, open the eyes of those who remain sleeping in the dark.


BongK said...

and this is truly the wonder and the beauty the artists see in this world... expressing their views create a timeless and truthful revelation...

maligayang pasko Ka Rolly

rolly said...

Bong Merry Christmas to you and yours, too.

BlogusVox said...

Ka Rolly,

Maligayang pasko sa inyo at sa mga mahal mo sa buhay!

Panaderos said...

It is deeply saddening that we are not a country of laws but of men. I no longer know if I'll ever get to see the day when Justice will finally prevail over our islands. Anyway.....

Merry Christmas to you and your dear family, Rolly. Take care of yourself always.