Thursday, October 11, 2012

Virginia Moreno's Batik Maker


Batik Maker

Tissue of no seam and skin

Of no scale she weaves this;

Dream of a huntsman pale

That in his antlered 

Mangrove waits

Ensnared;


And I cannot touch him.


Lengths of the dumb and widths

Of the deaf are his hair

Where wild orchids thumb

Or his parted throat surprise

To elegiac screaming

Only birds of

Paradise;


And I cannot wake him.


Shades of light and shapes

Of the rain on his palanquin

Stain what phantom panther

Sleeps in the cage of

His skin and immobile

Hands;


And I cannot bury him.



Virginia Moreno
(Photo from Aliww)




         Virginia Moreno’s poem, Batik Maker instantly became my fave when the haunting lyrics installed itself into my being after we read it in college (PNU where I took up AB/BSE English). My college professor, Dr. Venancio Mendiola would do his stance, his silhouette ( I say silhouette because we see his profile) while looking at something distant and obscure, and say our names randomly, usually to recount a story we were assigned days earlier.


          That day, our topic was the immortal Batik Maker.


          Dr. Mendiola asked what imagery we see from the poem, I raised like my hand like an enthusiastic child about to show her new toy.
I could see an image in my mind and I drew a canvas of what I hoped were the poet's thoughts.


What I drew was something like this:






I interpreted the lines:


Shades of light and shapes
Of the rain on his palanquin



I was so proud of that image. My professor didn't utter a comment (perhaps he was thinking I should take up Digital Arts or Fine Arts instead).

Time went on. It was years later when I found the poem again and mulling over the " lengths and depths" of  the pain that echoed in those words, I can only surmise from where they come.

No wonder she's called the High Priestess of Philippine Poetry.

For my view on Batik Maker, please see here.



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

can you please tell me what the poem really means?

amidemanila said...

Ask yourself these questions:
How many people are involved here? The speaker, the batik maker, the dead person

What is the design of the batik maker ?

How does the design of the batik maker illustrate the speaker’s pain of losing the dead person?

Do you think the speaker and the batik maker are one?


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