Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another all time favorite poem

When I got home today, I wanted to read some local poetry before I eat dinner. I also decided to post another poem here. I was choosing between a poem from Felino Garcia Jr.'s first book of poetry "Heartsong" or an old time favorite by a Cebuano poet. The latter won the internal debate I was having. My Cebuano/Bisaya speaking/comprehension skills are at best, trying hard, but still a bit functional. I'm thankful for that Summer Paralegal Internship I had with the Children's Legal Bureau in Cebu for this. I had to learn the language because our legal advocacy work takes us to grass root communities, so its a must to facilitate communication. I tried my best, but I still get giggles from the folks because of my pathetic attempt at speaking. Hehehehe... Well, at least I made them laugh.

I encountered this poem in a workshop where my literary dad, Dr. Leoncio Deriada was a panel. He recited this poem as an excellent example of local color in imagery, and despite my meager Cebuano comprehension skills, I fell in love with it. The images are vivid, the use of the language, very beautiful, and the over-all effect of the poem is haunting. Tatay Leo explained what a Habalhabal is and why it is called as such. He said it is a form of transportation that can carry 8 people, sacks of rice, vegetables and what-nots! He jokingly said that it is called as such because your thighs would "palanghabal" or go sore like a semi-ripe fruit after your ordeal with this motorcycle.

Anyhoot, here is the poem, the poet and my attempts at translation.

Balaki Ko 'Day Samtang Gasakay Ta’g Habalhabal.
Ni: Adonis Durado

Balaki ko day
Samtang gasakay ta’g habalhabal.
Idat-ol og samut
Kanang imong dughan
Nganhi sa akong bukobuko
Aron mas mabatyagan ko ang hinagubtob
Sa imong kasingkasing.
Sa mga libaong nga atong malabyan
Gaksa ko paghugot
Sama sa lastikong
Mipungpong sa imong buhok.
Ug sa kainit sa imong ginhawa
Gitika kining akong dughan.
Ang mga balili unya
Nga naghalok sa ‘tong batiis
Isipon tang kaugaligong mga dila.
Dayon samtang nagakatulin
Kining atong dagan,
Mamiyong tag maghangad
Ngadto sa kawanangan
Aron sugaton ang taligsik
Sa uwan, dahon, ug bulak.

Tulaan Mo 'Ko, Inday, Habang Lulan Tayo Ng Habalhabal
Isinalin ni Luis Batchoy

Tulaan mo 'ko 'day
Habang lulan tayo ng habalhabal
Idiin mo pang lalo
Ang 'yong dibdib
Dito sa aking likod
Upang lalo kong madama ang dagundong
Ng puso mo.
Sa mga lubak na ating madadaanan
Yakapin mo 'ko ng ubod higpit
Tulad nyang lastikong
Nakatali sa iyong buhok.
At sa init ng 'yong hininga
Kilitiin 'tong aking dibdib
At ang mga talahib mamaya
Na humahalik sa ating mga binti
Isipin nating mga dila natin
Tapos, habang natulin
Itong ating pagtakbo
Pumikit tayo at tumingala
Doon sa papawirin
Upang salubungin ang tilamsik
Ng ulan, dahon at bulaklak.

Recite A Poem to me, Inday, While We're Riding A Habalhabal
Translated by Luis Batchoy

Recite a poem to me, Inday
While we're riding a habalhabal
Press your breasts tighter
Against my back
So I may better feel the thundering
Of your heart.
And when we encounter potholes on our way
Embrace me tightly
Like that rubberband
That bunches your hair
And with your warm breath
Tickle my chest.
And the weeds later
That kiss our legs
Let's imagine as our own tongues
And while we accelerate
In this, our ride,
Let's close our eyes and turn our faces
Up towards the skies
To meet with the sprinkling
Of the rain, leaf and flower.

I hope I did the poem justice with my translations. Cebuano speaking readers, how did I do? Did I get it right?

Beautiful poem, ayt? It never fails to warm my soul. Take me on a habal habal ride with you, please?

Photo Credits:


the spool artist said...

paksyet... kanami sini nga poem. the sheer intensity of this simple rhetoric warms the soul... basta, the honesty is so pure... much like the feeling you get the first time you read How My Brother Leon Brought Home His Wife...

Luis Batchoy said...

yes gid...dats yit was love at first sight for me with this poem! So pedestrian, so honest... aylavet!