Apprentice of Bright Sky
I should have been busy fixing myself
In a library or walking on a campus
Fevered with aged trees
On a Saturday like this, the freest day
Of my work-slaved mind and body.
But what I elect to do now
Instead is to rediscover
Each corner of this house for
Tenant tales and spirits,
Take in the monastic quiet
Of the room I have burdened with books,
Wait for hospitable memories
To ambush in my wake
As I carry you in my arms
Pointing out the objects we
Started to cart into your tiny world,
Unveiling the words you could
Drop off now to the deepest well
Which surprise us by their bouncing
Back with glee of angels.
All these with hope that you concoct
A potent magic as well
To the universe of language, get
Entangled in the intricacies of life
Beginning with flower,
Bird, guava, cat, turtle, tree,
Dog, cow, grass, child, sky, God.
(for Nikki, one year old)
Published in Philippine Free Press (1993)
Nikki, my niece, turned 18 this month. Although the occasion was celebrated quietly with a few of her friends at home and I was preoccupied playing host to my sister and brother-in-law who visited Cambodia early this month, I had thought of putting this out all along. I feel a strong compulsion to put something on my blog about Nikki’s stepping into the world of debutantes, where society is officially recognizing her as a woman poised to carve her own life; but there’s something more I wish she could do apart from going through the motions of life , and that is for her to transcend beyond the sophistication of a contemporary lady setting her mind towards career and self-independence. Mainly, I wish that she will progressively learn the things that really matters in life like values, family ties, friendship, virtues of understanding and compassion, humility and simplicity, and being on the side of the lowly and disadvantaged. I am not much of a good uncle to her, having gone and passing my time away from everyone, working and all that, and not being able to carry out my avuncular role all the time. This holds true for the rest of my nieces and nephews. But in prayers and through constant wish of seeing all of them reach their goals and a good measure of equanimity and contentment in their adult lives, I hope these thoughts will find realization in God’s time.
So to Nikki, I say break a leg. It’s time to begin your life journey.
Nikki and her Mom, Catherine