Poem 1: Leaving

The closest I got in contact with my activist self since I started working in the Cebu media in 1991 was when The Freeman tasked me to supervise an experimental student paper handled by the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines in 1995. The student writers reminded me of my young self: oozing with idealism and romantic notions.

When one of them decided to leave, I composed the poem, “Leaving,” for her wherein I sought to break the romantic notion about the struggle and life in the countryside. This was dated June 23, 1996.


It is a twist in an upward spiral–a dialectic,
This act we label leaving.
Now I will give you some fragments, my friend
Before our parting.

When you go, think not of the rainbow
Or of the moon lovely above
The crystal river.

For out there footpaths straddle steep peaks,
Pierce the shadowy forests
And merge with the cogon prickly
Upon bare feet.
There, uniformed mercenaries
Become cannibals
Who slash abdomens and leave bodies
To rot unmarked in the wilderness.

But fear not, my friend
For out there, too, you have
Those strong-willed vanguards to embrace
And in the cold night, yes,
The warmth of the peasants’ hearth
Ever burning.

–Candido O. Wenceslao
23 June 1996


2 Responses to Poem 1: Leaving

  1. rain says:

    hi sir!

    i was from CEGP too and a struggling writer.
    may i ask what are the odds that i can have my byline on sunstar weekend too?

  2. cebuano says:

    Sorry for the delayed answer. Busy man gud tas ubang writing tasks.
    Anyway, being published nagdepende na sa imong talent ug sa taste sa editor. Ang imong buhaton is submit your works (personal essay for Crossline, powems or short stories). Tan-awa lang unsa katas-a ang mga articles nga na-publish. Kun taas ra kaayo imong articles, basin dili ni dawaton sa editor.
    Paabota kun ma-publish ba. Kun dili, check with Weekend Editor Myke Obenieta, then consult him kun unsaon nimo pag-improve arong ma-publish imong work.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Bong/Dodo Wenceslao

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