OF EARTH OR BAMBOO?
An Analysis of Amador T. Daguio’s Man of Earth
by Francis B. Tatel
Man of Earth is a poem that was written during the Pre-War years in the Philippines. It can be interpreted by using either biographical or historical approach, or both. Amador T. Daguio was a young man when he wrote this poem. But even though young, he already tasted many of life’s painful stings. He said his “life has been a series of back-breaking hardships” which is why perhaps he became a poet. I believed this is the reason why he was able to write the Man of Earth”.
In the first stanza, it is obvious that Amador T. Daguio is comparing himself to the bamboo. This is perhaps because like the bamboo which is commonly seen standing, though bowed, after a fierce and devastating storm, he remained strong and standing after the many tempests that passed his life which tried to break his endurance and determination in life. But he said that he is “a man of earth” which means although he had the flexibility and resiliency of the bamboo, he didn’t believe that he came from it as mentioned in the third and fourth lines of the first stanza; They say that from the bamboo/We had our first birth. This pertains to the old legend “Si Malakas at si Maganda” which explains the origin of the Filipino race in a mythological way. Malakas is said to be the first Filipino man and Maganda, the first Filipina. From them the Filipino race began, so the legend says. But he didn’t agree with this because he said he is a man of earth. As we all know the Lord created Adam out of mud and molded him into his own image and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. Therefore Amador Daguio wanted to emphasize that he was created by God and that he did not descended from first couple of the bamboo.
The question: If the wind passes by, /Must I stoop, and try/To measure fully/My flexibility? Implies Daguio’s disagreement with subservience to any foreign intruder or surrender to any...
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