“Jeepney” by Gemino H. Abad
“Jeepney” is a free verse poem written by Gemino H. Abad. It revolves around the principal metaphor of the jeepney, the Philippine’s symbol of culture, which is developed all throughout the poem and analogized to the nation itself. At first, it is an allusive rendition of the Filipino people, the impoverished Filipinos in particular, and a generalization of their traits. The handling of metaphors, juxtaposition, allusions, and form throughout the poem then stirs allegorical descriptions of our struggles, and nation as a whole, all in comparison to the jeepney.
The first verse begins with an ultimatum – “Consider honestly”. This proposes that it is essential to be truthful, when it comes to considering the jeepney, which is equated to the Filipino people. They (the jeepney/Filipinos) are not found superior, but rather considered to be, “this piece of storm/in our city’s entrails./Incarnation of scrap,/what genius of salvage!”. The adjacent placement of words such as “incarnation” and “scrap”, and “genius” and “salvage” juxtapose, thus projecting the honesty of the speaker even more. In the second verse, the speaker, “sense[s] our truth laughing/in our guts…”, which is a metaphor applied to the prominent trait that Filipinos have the ability to laugh at their problems. The weight of frankness in thought, within the first two stanzas, is narrowed to a realm of observations and notions. The transformation in the speaker’s attitude corresponds to a change in structure, specifically the span of enjambments.
Just like a jeepney, the poem starts with a forceful lurch, staggers as it begins to travel, then explores with more ease as it progresses. Continuing on with the poem, the speaker now acknowledges the jeepney as our country, and the passengers within it as citizens, and that it is referring to our, “…breakdowns and survivals”, a metaphor for our past and future. Our fate is also likened to the...
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