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
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
–Candido O. Wenceslao
23 June 1996