Posted in Letters, PNU

Parting Time

If you would ask me about the growing pains of being a college student, I’d say it’s the burden of being apart from our families back home.

Shakespeare, yes, parting is such sweet sorrow.

Most students have welcoming homes they can return to after a long day in school but for some who cannot afford the fare expenses of the cruel distance, they live in dorms within the reach of university.

Along searching for a possible refuge, I found a fitting poem that reflects an equal sentimentality. The poem is entitled, “Valediction sa Hillcrest” and was written by the former Philippine National Artist, Rolando Tinio. The mood of the poetry is nostalgic as it talks about a man who recalls memories he spent in the two different places he lived in: a foreign land (Iowa), and his native land (Philippines). The quirky and unique use of two languages in telling the story mirrors the persona’s character as the two different places made a special mark in him–like they have become a part of his identity.

This is a type of poem that college students will appreciate and can relate with since many of us live away from our homes to study in university. We cherish both places, create memories in them, and feel a pang of sadness when we are away from the other.

Taste the reminiscence in this poem:


Valediction sa Hillcrest

by Rolando Tinio

Pagkacollect ng Railway Express sa aking things
(Deretso na iyon sa barko while I take the plane.)

Inakyat kong muli ang N-311, at dahil dead of winter,

Nakatopcoat at galoshes akong

Nagright-turn sa N wing ng mahabang dilim

(Tunnel yatang aabot hanggang Tundo.)

Kinapa ko ang switch sa hall.

Sa isang pitik, nagshrink ang imaginary tunnel,

Nagparang ataol.

Or catacomb.

Strangely absolute ang impression

Ng hilera ng mga pintong nagpuprusisyon:

Individual identification, parang mummy cases,

De-nameplate, de-numero, de-hometown address.

Antiseptic ang atmosphere, streamlined yet.

Kung hindi catacomb, at least

E filing cabinet.

Filing, hindi naman deaths, ha.

Remembrances, oo. Yung medyo malapot

Dahil alam mo na, I’m quitting the place

After two and a half years.

After two and a half years,

Di man nagkatiyempong mag-ugat, ika nga,

Siyempre’y nagging attached, parang morning glory’ng

Mahirap mapaknit sa alambreng trellis.

At pagkabukas ko sa kuwarto,

Hubo’t hubad na ang mattresses,

Wala nang kutson sa easy chair,

Mga drawer ng bureau’y nakanganga,

Sabay-sabay nag-ooration,

Nagkahiyaan, nabara.

Of course, tuloy ang radiator sa paggaralgal:

Nasa New York na si Bob and the two Allans,

Yung mga quarterbacks across the hall

Pihadong panay ang display sa Des Moines.

Don ang Cosntance aren’t coming back at all.

Gusto ko nang magpaalam–

to whom?

The drapes? The washbowl? Sa double-decker

Na pinaikot-ikot naming ni Kandaswamy

To create space, hopeless, talagang impossible.

Of course, tuloy ang radiator sa paglagutok.

(And the stone silence,

nakakaiyak kung sumagot.)

Bueno, let’s get it over with.

It’s a long walk to the depot.

Tama na ang sophistication-sophistication.

Sa steep incline, pababa sa highway

Where all things level, sabi nga,

There’s a flurry, ang gentle-gentle.

Pagwhoosh-whoosh ng paa ko,

The snow melts right under:

Nagtutubig parang asukal,

Humuhulas,

nagsesentimental.

Retrieved from (Web):  Valediction sa Hillcrest by Rolando S. Tinio. https://www.scribd.com/doc/258494296/Valediction-Sa-Hillcrest-by-Rolando-S

 

To channel the sentimentality that sits inside, here’s my own share of farewell to a certain life event

 

Valediction sa Pagkabata

I woke up galing sa aking kama

4 ng umaga to be exact

dahil sa malakas na kriiing ng alarm clock

at deafening na hiyaw ni mama

Isinagawa ang morning rituals

isinuot ang puting school uniform

at red and green plaid na palda

then sumakay sa tricycle na gumagaralgal

–dumadagundong sa buong subdivision sa Meycauayan;

Dumadagdag sa music ng crickets sa palayan.

I touched down sa terminal sa Banga

Pitch black na kalawakan overhead

Ang headlights ng cars, jeepney at cargo trucks

ang nagsilbing liwanag

I ascended sa jeep na tinakpan ng signboards ang harap,

MALANDAY, nakasulat in neon green

            Brrrrr, ang lamig.

Teeth chattering.

But I can feel warmth sa piling mo.

I was still clinging sa malambot na braso niya,

not wanting to let go..

            “Ingat sa pagtawid, ha”

kahit one second.

            “Aalis na!”,

insisted ni mamang barker,

sabay palo sa stainless na katawan ng jeep

Ramdam ang vibrations na gawa ng pinaandar na engine.

Eto na, harurot ni manong drayber

na fresh, mukhang bagong ligo

full tank ang jeep,

Sa front mirror, isinabit ang

lemon scent

which crawled into my senses

            Ma, nahihilo ako…

Gusto kong sabihin

Kumakalampag na tunog ng coins sa dating empty case

ready na for its first trip

but I’m not ready saking first day.

As the jeepney went farther,

paliit ng paliit ang image ni mama.

Still on that place,

that marked the end of my childhood.

That was the last time na sinamahan niya ako.

4 years later…

I woke up na naman sa aking kama

–4 din ng umaga, to be exact.

dahil sa malakas na kriiing ng alarm clock

na sinet ko last night.

As usual,

isinagawa ang morning rituals,

isinuot ang uniform na white

–from bottom to top

One would think na nursing student ako.

then sumakay sa tricycle na gumagaralgal

–may bagong kasabay,

a dude with red pants,

student ng UE, maybe.

I touched down sa terminal sa tollgate

Still pitch black,

mas maraming cars, jeep at trucks compared sa dating babaan.

I ascended sa jeep with a signboard na MONUMENTO

            “Apat pa!”

Upon hearing that yell,

lahat ay kumaripas,

nag-unahan sa seats

most are in their professional attires and uniform.

            Brooooooooom

Ayan, nagsimula ng tumakbo ang jeepney

stopping by at tolls

kasalukuyang tinatahak ang NLEX

It’s windy,

Hinahampas ng early morning wind

ang cheeks ko.

I was clinging saking Jansport bag,

Binili of course ni mama.

Pinikit ang mata,

Nag reminisce,

4 years ago to be exact.

Back then, ‘di pa sanay mag-isa,

Now, I can go to school by myself.

They said nga, ‘pag college

dapat independent.

Matapos makipagbalyahan sa early train,

Makipag unahan umupo

Parang trip to Jerusalem,

Pero hindi exciting,

At medyo aggressive.

Ang sarap matulog dahil sa lamig ng aircon,

Gustong bumalik sa dreamland

at ituloy and naudlot na scene

            “U.N. Avenue Station”

O kaya naman’y tumayo,

maglakad patungo sa

black and yellow gate

            “Good morning po, ateng guard!”

            “I.D mo?”

            “Yung bag, pakibuksan.”

At ibang klaseng dream

ang i-pursue,

yung dream kung saan dilat ang mata

at naglalakad pero di sleepwalking.

            “Hello! Classmates tayo, diba?”

“Oo, halika, andiyan na daw yung prof!”

Nakaka-amaze!

Nakaka-tense!

Very nerve-wracking!

Nakakapanibago…

Ang bilis,

gaya ng mga araw na lumipas…


“There is no end of things in the heart.” -Ezra Pound

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