intramuros (an introspection)

these walls of an ancient sacrifice,
i walked its battlements today,
traversed its crennelations,
caressed the silent mouths of its anger,
as memory brought me back,

i wonder how they who came before me
looked at these massive buttresses,
ancient armor of a city forced
to pay obeisance to a foreign land,
did they fear these walls, i wonder,
did they pray each night
that these walls should dissolve into dust?

beyond these walls, now,
those who have grown rich with the peace
bat little dimpled balls over well-trimmed grass,
and i watch them for a while,
the breeze cooling the sweat on my brow,
but not lessening the simmering ire
on their seeming disregard
of this fortress,
these walls upon which lie etched
the indelible traces of blood
of those who came before them, who paid,
so that today we may enjoy the fat of this land,
i seethe at their lack of gratefulness,
even as i tread these battlements,
even as i run my fingers upon these walls…

slowly, though,
i begin to see the enchantment of this place,
the stark nakedness of the rough-hewn stones
commingling with the shadows and light,
and the leaves of the trees
that overreach the walls,
and the solitude and silence of being above
the humdrum of the city,
attracts the many who pepper its length,
exchanging songs,
passing pleasantries,
sharing lives, and hearts, and time…

no wonder that this place
has not lost its magic and its charm,
these walls of an ancient sacrifice,
resting now, inviting that we
give place to that desire
which they who gave the greatest oblation
wanted for us…

i smile as the wind caresses my face,
knowing that i leave
hand in hand with the future,
having touched the past,

that these walls will keep
these dreams of patriots
and commonplace poets alive.

2/21/09 — after visiting intramuros earlier this afternoon


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