Sunday, January 1, 2012

We beheld once again the stars

I write this when, I think, most of you are already asleep. The last greeting on my phone beeped and it’s already dying. The lights are dimmed and the last slabs of Buffalo wings were swallowed mercilessly. Outside, the air is thick with the stench of gun powder. Inside, there is a revolution going on.

When I was young, I used to think that bangs and smokes are brought to celebrate the New Year. For good luck and in a way, to say “hey New Year, be good to us, eh.”

We did everything, every charm, every tradition with tables pouring and the usual 13-piece fruit tray – we mastered them yearly. Yet tragedies always find their way no matter.

I wish not to be a killjoy and write you about hope, about carols and left and right parties. So let me begin first by telling you this:

Within the span of 2011, billions have died. 15, 842 of them fell down in an earthquake followed by a Tsunami in Northeastern Japan. In February, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, Australia killed at least 182 people; 12 of them Filipinos. Many people also lost their lives in a series of Arab protests. In Syria alone there are at least 1, 300 casualties, 846 in Egypt, 219 in Tunisia, 200 in Yemen and 29 in Bahrain. 

Last March, the People’s Republic of China executed Sally Villanueva, Ramon Credo and Elizabeth Batain due to drug related cases. And then, add up another one who was also executed last December 8. Just yesterday, a conjoined twin, actually a baby with a single body and two heads died out of complications. 

And there are the storms. In May 6, Bebang came and claimed at least 48 people. September 24, Pedring swept away most of the towns in Bulacan and killed at least 83 people. Presently, in Northern Mindanao and some parts of Visayas, we’re still counting cadavers and as of recent count, at least 2, 000 are confirmed dead.

So congratulations to us! Not because we are not part of the figures above. But because we’re not, we have a daunting task at hand.

Imagination is what brings us storytellers to hunt for the next one. So it’s the same imagination we employ now. Imagine the dead. Imagine the suffered. Imagine the dispossessed. Sometimes you don’t need to put more effort in doing so.

Whenever I close my eyes, I still see and hear that wailing lady. They say she’s on the verge of losing her mind. She keeps telling story of a one stormy night, when flood suddenly surge into their home and her kids’ faces went all blue. Clutching each other’s hands, they traverse the mighty rain and the crossing mud. At some point, she loses her 7 year old kid’s clutch and everything went hazy. As she cries and narrates this story, the lady’s conjecture would be: “Ako ang may kasalanan kung ba’t namatay yung anak ko. Nabitiwan ko siya. Nabitiwan ko.”

It’s true that we cannot give them all faces. It’s true that we cannot help all who need help. But once cannot resist his own thoughts. So I write them. Or if you’re a friend, you probably are already tired of hearing almost same stories yet different names in it.

This I’ve learned: We look up at the stars and we see history. For those faraway, stars are long dead, but their lives remain alive, travelling distances of thousands of years to reach our night skies. And so the very moment of gazing, of wishing, is converging past and present.

This is where lies my hopes, my dreams and my convictions. The bangs and smokes are celebration, not to a new, but to a leaving year that brought so many tears and have claimed so many. It is in the same tales and the same figures that I am reminded, my story shall continue. Not because my story is that great, but because I have the task of telling people’s story that they may not be forgotten.

To a new year!


Ma la notte risurge
(But soon it will be night and we must rise to the stars)
Oramai e da parti
(Now is the time to depart this place)
Che tutto veduto 
(For we have seen and experienced it all)
("Keep moving" -return to paradise)
Vexilla regis prodeunt inferni!
(The wings of hell's monarch are heard nearby)
(We must leave quickly)
Ma la notte risurge
(But soon in it will be night)
Salimmo su, tanto ch'i vidi
(I climbed towards paradise with no thought of looking back)
De la cose belle che porta 
(I passed through a small opening)
Ciel, per un pertugio tondo
(And finally saw heaven and the supreme light)
Quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle
(And beheld once again the stars)

-Riveder le Stelle (We beheld once again the stars) by Z. Randall Stroope

12 reaction(s):

imsonotconio said...

i really admire ur writing skills

Guyrony said...

The factual thing about hope is that it resides in all of us...

Even to the most deeply wounded ones.

pointlessparanoia said...

It's a sad thing that their wailing has to pinch a part of our heart, let alone our soul. Hearing bad news makes up depressed at one point in our life, but we have to move forward. As long as there is hope and determination, life goes on. We just have to claim it as our to live by.

(I had to look for that song. And since I love listening to foreign lyrics, you got me.)

Happy new year, Mugen! :)

Mugen said...

There is immortality in stories. Somehow, they endure time.

Another year, another daunting task to immortalize the brief moments.

Eternal Wanderer... said...

impeyrniz, pinagpipilian namin nun kung anong babaunin sa egp, yan song na yan o conversion of saul.

we beheld won out kasi mas inherent yung romanticism nung pyesa. in other words, ang sarap hagud-hagurin.

ang bakla lang ng desisyon ano? :P

Nate said...

@deebee: i honestly don't know what to say..

happy new year, lil bro! :)

bien said...

oh no, i was actually hoping for a song rendition but knowing your penchance for dark sad stories di na dapat ako nagulat. HNY DB!

shenanigans said...

dami kong na realize sa entry mong toh..

Victor Saudad said...


somelostboy said...

There's not much celebration in leaving things behind. No optimism in looking forward. It's no more than an ordinary day with fireworks. God,I am such a grinch.

the green breaker said...

we continue to write for lots of reasons.

i always like your writings, DB.. :)

Leomer Apolonio said...

Sad stories really sell, and that thing is in itself, sad.


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