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  • Topic: Leona Lewis, Like You, Did You See Me Coming?
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Jose Garcia Villa

Anchored Angel

Jose Garcia Villa

I can no more hear Love’s
Voice. No more moves
The mouth of her. Birds
No more sing. Words
I speak return lonely.
Flowers I pick turn ghostly.
Fire that I burn glows
Pale. No more blows
The wind. Time tells
No more truth. Bells
Ring no more in me.
I am all alone singly.
Lonely rests my head.
—O my God! I am dead

Bienvenido N. Santos

Come home now, heroes, the roofs are patched,
The shaky bamboo stairs are firm again;
Yellow bells now cling to the barbed wire fence
And the choir sings at high mass in the church
On the blasted hill. Father Belarmino lost
His eyeglasses and recites the epistles from memory,
A pale boy reads to him at night, but his mind
Wanders where death lay beneath the altar, prayers
Never quite reaching the end when the end came.

Come home, heroes, and walk our streets erect,
Put the ribbons and the guns away. For a while
We may not recall that my brother’s grave
Was an open sea and that mother died as you
Slunk away to join your comrades in the wilderness;
That a groom stood naked in the valley of stones
Crying for his lost bride; and your laughter
Trembled among the trees. Once, among the trees
Hermogenes lay dying, pointing to the trail
Where your footsteps ended and the sea began.

It is time to be home, heroes, for the hands
That buried him are working hands now,
Rugged and strong and firm upon the plow;
When they turn the soil, there are no bones
Among the muddy roots and memories are faint;
The citrus are yellow in October, of evenings
The hills are ripe for another deflowering
Like the bride in the valley of stones
And my brother’s youth in a nameless sea.

Bienvenido N. Santos
When I arrived in Kalamazoo it was October and the war was still on. Gold and silver stars hung on pennants above silent windows of white and brick-red cottages. In a backyard an old man burned leaves and twigs while a gray-haired woman sat on the porch, her red hands quiet on her lap, watching the smoke rising above the elms, both of them j thinking the same thought perhaps, about a tall, grinning boy with his blue eyes and flying hair, who went out to war: where could he be now this month when leaves were turning into gold and the fragrance of gathered apples was in the wind?

        It was a cold night when I left my room at the hotel for a usual speaking engagement. I walked but a little way. A heavy wind coming up from Lake Michigan was icy on the face. If felt like winter straying early in the northern woodlands. Under the lampposts the leaves shone like bronze. And they rolled on the pavements like the ghost feet of a thousand autumns long dead, long before the boys left for faraway lands without great icy winds and promise of winter early in the air, lands without apple trees, the singing and the gold!

        It was the same night I met Celestino Fabia, "just a Filipino farmer" as he called himself, who had a farm about thirty miles east of Kalamazoo.

    "You came all that way on a night like this just to hear me talk?"

       "I've seen no Filipino for so many years now," he answered quickly. "So when I saw your name in the papers where it says you come from the Islands and that you're going to talk, I come right away."

        Earlier that night I had addressed a college crowd, mostly women. It appeared they wanted me to talk about my country, they wanted me...
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