Arizona Knights of Rizal

                                                     MY HAVEN

                                                                (To my mother)

                                                            An English translation
                                                          by Sir Edwin D. Bael, KCR
                                                          January 24, 2014, Taguig                                                                          


                                                 By a spacious beach of fine and soft sand
                                                 and at the foot of a green-covered mountain
                                                 I put my humble hut under pleasant woodland,
                                                 seeking in the serene quietude of the forest stand
                                                 rest for my brain, silence for my pain.

                                                 Its roof is fragile nipa, its floor weak cane,
                                                 its beams and columns unworked wood;
                                                 worth nothing, really, my rustic cabin;
                                                 but it sleeps in the lap of the eternal mountain,
                                                 night and day the sea sings and soothes it good.

                                                 A tributary stream, that from the shady forest
                                                 descends amid boulders, bathing them with love,
                                                 and gives, by crude cane piping, a fountain best,
                                                 that in the quiet night, song and melody vest
                                                 and in the heat of day, clear nectar from above.

                                                 If the sky is serene, the source smoothly runs,
                                                 its invisible zither incessantly strumming;
                                                 but come the rains, and impetuous torrent guns
                                                 o’er rocks and gaps: loud, foaming, boiling,
                                                 and throws itself to the sea frantically roaring.

                                                 The dog’s bark, the birds’ song and twitter,
                                                 the kalaw’s hoarse voice are all you hear there,
                                                 there is no conceited man nor annoying neighbor
                                                 who on my mind may impose, or on my way, hinder;
                                                 I only have the forests and the sea to me so near.

                                                 The sea, the sea is all!  Its mass sovereign
                                                 brings me the atoms of worlds so far and foreign;
                                                 it inspires me with its limpid morning smile,
                                                 and when by afternoon my faith feels futile
                                                 the heart finds an echo in its sorrows utile.

                                                 By evening it’s a mystery! ... Its gossamer element
                                                 gets covered with thousands upon thousands of light;
                                                 the vague fresh breeze shimmers the firmament,
                                                 sighing, the waves narrate to the smooth wind of night
                                                 stories that in the dark were lost in time’s advent.

                                                 It has been told of the earth’s first dawning,
                                                 of the sun’s first kiss that inflamed her breasts,
                                                 when thousands of beings surged from nothing,
                                                 and populated the abyss and the lofty crests
                                                 and everywhere stamped by his fecund kissing.

                                                 And when in dark night the winds grow furious
                                                 and the restless waves start roiling in agitation,
                                                 screams cross the air rendering the soul tremulous:
                                                 refrains, praying voices, laments giving the impression
                                                 of exhaling those who one time sank in sea submersion .

                                                 Then the high mountains resonate and resound,
                                                 the trees thrash and shake from end to end;
                                                 the cattle low loudly, thickets echo every sound,
                                                 these are spirits saying to the plain they’re bound
                                                 called by the dead a funeral feast to attend.

                                                The night screeches, shrieks; confusing, terrifying;                        
                                                green, blue fires are seen in the sea burning;
                                                but calm is born again with the dawn smiling
                                                and very soon a small fishing vessel daring
                                                the weary waves of the sea begins traversing.

                                                So pass the days in my humble haven from ire,
                                                banished from the world where once I lived,
                                                of my varied fortune, the Providence I admire:
                                                abandoned pebble, for the moss I only aspire
                                                that the world in me, may by all be unperceived.

                                                I live with the memories of those I have loved
                                                and occasionally I hear their names pronouncing:
                                                some are already dead; others have forgotten me;
                                                but what does it matter? In the past I live thinking
                                                and no one can take the past away from me.

                                                He is a faithful friend who never tarnishes me
                                                who when he sees me sad, inspires the soul always,
                                                who, in my sleepless nights, joins my vigil and prays
                                                with me, and in my exile and in my poor cabin stays,
                                                and when all are in doubt, only he infuses faith in me.

                                               And I have faith, and I hope it must shine one day
                                               when the force of Idea conquers the brutality of force,
                                               that after the struggle and the protracted agony,
                                               a voice other than mine, more sonorous, more happy,
                                               will know how to sing the triumphal song perforce.

                                               I see the sky shine so pure and so brilliant,
                                               just as when I forged my primary illusion;
                                               I feel the same soft breath kiss my sad expression,
                                               the same that set my fervent enthusiasm so radiant
                                               and sent the young heart’s blood boiling and valiant.

                                               I breathe the breeze that may perhaps have passed
                                               through the fields and rivers of my town natal;
                                               maybe it will return what to it I earlier confessed:
                                               the kisses, the sighs of a being of whom I obssessed,
                                               the sweet confidences of a love without equal.

                                               On seeing the same moon that was silvery,
                                               I feel in me born anew the old melancholy;
                                               a thousand memories of love and sworn faith stir:
                                               a courtyard, a roof garden, the beach, a bower,
                                               silences and sighs, blushes of ecstasy…

                                               Butterfly, for light and for color, a-thirsting,
                                               in other skies and in vaster gardens, a-dreaming,
                                               I left, while still young, my loves and my homeland,
                                               and, without doubts, without fears, all over wandering,
                                               I spent the April of my life in many a strange land.

                                               And later, when I wanted, a swallow tired and worn,
                                               to the nest of my parents and of my love, to return,
                                               there suddenly roared a fierce, violent tempest:
                                               it saw me with wings broken, the abode demolished,  
                                               the faith sold to others, and ruins everywhere tarnished.

                                               Flung upon a crag of the homeland that I adore,
                                               the future destroyed, without home, without vigor,
                                               you come to me again! dreams of rose and gold,
                                               the only treasure of my whole existence,
                                               beliefs of a healthy, sincere adolescence.

                                              You’re no longer as before, full of fire and vivacity
                                               toasting a thousand crowns and immortality;
                                               a serious thing found you; more your dear face:
                                               if it is no longer as cheerful, if it is stained or dirty
                                               on the other hand, it bears the seal of fidelity.

                                               You offer me, o illusions, the cup of consolation,
                                                and my youthful years you come to stir and awaken! …
                                                thanks to you, typhoon; thanks, o squalls of heaven,
                                                that at good time you knew to cut my flight uncertain,
                                                only to hurl me upon the bosom of my natal nation.

                                                By a spacious beach of fine and soft sand
                                                and at the foot of a green-covered mountain,
                                                I found in my country haven under pleasant woodland,
                                                and tranquility serene in its shady forest stand,
                                                rest for my brain, silence for my pain.