Lost Children of Haiyan & Other Poems

by Victor N. Sugbo

Lost Children of Haiyan

All day the sea waves sob softly.
Down the blue bay of Cancabato
hundreds of them
men women children
lie in deep slumber;
warm mornings
cool dusks
tranquil nights
these do not matter.

They no longer mind
the frail weeping
of the little girl in green frock
perched on the once torn sea wall.

They do not hear the fishermen’s voices
on their lighted boats setting out nightly to sea.

They could be shells now
bleached by salt and time.

Those on the terra firma
worry themselves thin
waiting for word about them:
monarch butterflies winging
through their house windows on certain evenings.
So many months have gone
since the mightiest of storms came
yet so many still visit the quay
and peer wistfully
into the water,
their faces

like isles of white clouds
floating on this unceasing blue.


Dream of Graciousness

I wish to write you a long letter, Gracious.

Since you left many monsoon seasons ago,
the city has lost its soul:

little girls of Amburukay dot the sidewalk
along shops, their hands cupped in the sun;

old hunched Alunsina sings at the steps
of a flyover, dreaming passers-by
would shower her mercy;

a bedraggled Buyong sleeps
in the darkest zone of a ruined wall.

Of course, they were always there
like fixtures of an advertisement wall;
only their garments vary each time.

And every evening, while the city wipes away
the dust of windows and lights the streets,
it cannot close its eyes and rest.

Gracious, when do you visit our city again?


Authors Note on Dreams of Graciousness:

Amburukay, Alunsina and Buyong are characters from the epics of Panay in Western Visayas, Philippines. Amburukay was a chaste old woman who possessed considerable magical power and who nurtured girls in the manner of noble families; Alunsina was the beautiful goddess of heaven who fell in love with a noble man from earth; and Buyong was a term used to describe a young man of nobility during ancient times.

Editor’s Note on Lost Children of Haiyan & Other Poems:

Lost Children of Haiyan & Other Poems is not Victor N. Sugbo’s first work to appear in Eastlit. His previous published pieces are:

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