I Am the World

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Translation by Karlo Antonio G. David

My translation of Alejandro Abadilla’s poem “ako ang daigdig” has proven to be the most popular post in my blog thus far. Many of the search items that led people to the post indicate that an analysis was being sought. This consequently gave me the idea of making an analysis of my own. Here, I will make a close reading of the poem. I will proceed by using English, but will focus on the original Filipino text. Later I shall attempt to translate my analysis to Filipino as a contribution to Filipino Intellectual consciousness. “Ako ang daigdig” comes in the form of a declaration spoken in the first person, with the persona describing him/herself. Among the descriptions the speaker attributes to him/herself are “daigdig” (“the world”) and “tula” (“the poem” or “poetry”). We thus begin to see that the identity of the persona is open to interpretation, and from there we can say that two possibilities are at hand: the persona is a poem; or that the persona is a human being as a reader. Taking the first possibility, we can begin by pointing out that the poem employs personification (attributing sentience to a poem). Next, it is necessary to mention that by being a personification in the form of self description, the poem becomes metatextual. The poem describes itself as “the world,” an idea which, we have to say, Derridan Post-structuralism would disagree with, what with the occurrence of différance. Then, it declares, “ako ang daigdig ng tula” (“I am the world of the poem”), which can be interpreted as saying the poem is the source of its own meaning, a hint at what Northrop Frye would call Centripetal Poetics. It is important to note that the exclusivity of meaning within the text is not only the foundation of Formalism, but the implication of restriction of meaning among all poetry within a “langue” is the most basic tenet of Structuralism.  But conversely, it declares “ako ang tula ng daigdig” (“I am the poem...
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