I lived for 2 years on the island of Manila and have fond memories of my experiences there. I hiked through the jungle, climbed volcanic mountains, and visited an isolated village of head hunters. I discovered an abandoned Japanese munitions cave which I reported to the US military so that it could be cleared. I swam in flooded culverts and climbed mango trees to eat the green mangos with salt. I worshipped with my "ama" Helen in a Catholic Church with hard packed dirt floor swept with a brush broom. We stood during the Mass and chickens scurried about our feet. I learned to dance the Tinikling well enough to perform in public and I played many games of Sunka. I am posting 2 poems about tropical islands in honor of these wonderful memories of the Philippine Islands.
Love we the warmth and light of tropic lands,
The strange bright fruit,
the feathery fanspread leaves,
The glowing mornings and the mellow eves,
The strange shells scattered on the golden sands,
The curious handiwork of Eastern hands,
The little carts ambled by humpbacked beeves,
The narrow outrigged native boat which cleaves,
Unscathed, the surf outside the coral strands.
Love we the blaze of color, the rich red
Of broad tiled-roof and turban, the bright green
Of plantain-frond and paddy-field, nor dread
The fierceness of the noon. The sky serene,
The chill-less air, quaint sights, and tropic trees,
Seem like a dream fulfilled of lotus-ease.
Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen
Night by the River
The coldness that was brought about
by the shadows of the moon
With the flowing melody
of the river near the lagoon.
The music that the crickets
played for the lonely hearts.
With the non-stop drumming beats
of the croaking frogs.
Up, far away from me,
are the reality of dreams.
And beyond what I can see
lies a silver lined brim.
A ripple created, that shattered
the silence of the wind.
The darkness precipitated,
and swallow every green.
With every drop of rain
provides a bubbling sound.
The friction of the leaves
creates a double rebound.
Tonight in the silence
of the shouting whisper,
beside the lonely darkness,
and the rhythm of the river.
Arjane rona Cruz Torres, Philippines
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