Curiosity Knows No Boundaries

Philosophica / Pilosopika Tula 54

By: J. Villa

Now is the speech of Tomorrow
In certain mouths.
A certain Ghost is Eternity
Who, as we walk hereward,
Walks usward.
Speaks nowward.

Un-ears and un-eves
Stand in disbelief and surprise.
The law of their clock is riven.
The law of their orbit is broken.
This speech is misshappen!
Wherefore, sharpen sharpen

Your claws O fellow citizens:
You have work to do
You have crosses to rear
You have history to smear.

Translated By: H. Francia

Ngayon ang pagsasalita ng Bukas
Sa ilang mga bibig.
May Multong Walang-katapusan
Na, habang tayo ay lumalakad nang sa dito patungo,
Ay lumalakad nang sa atin patungo,
Nagsasalita nang sa ngayon patungo.

Ang mga di-tainga at di-mata
Ay di-makapaniwala at napamangha.
Nawasak ang batas ng kanilang orasan.
Nasira ang batas ng kanilang ligiran.
Ang hugis ng pagsasalitang ito ay sira!
Kung kaya't, ihasa ihasa

Ang inyong mga kuko O kamamamayan:
Mayroon kayong mga gawaing gagawin
Mayroon kayong mga Krus na ipagtatayuan
Mayroon kayong kasaysayang mamantsahan.

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Jose Garcia Villa

Citattion of the National Artist Award conferred on Jose Garcia Villa by the Philippine Government

on June 12, 1973

Jose Garcia Villa is one of the finest contemporary poets regardless of race or language. When Have Come , Am Here, the first of his poems to be published in the West, broke upon the surprised consciousness of readers, it was immediately acclaimed for its beauty of language, intensity of thought and a fierce religious spirit absent in the poetry of his age.

Villa's theme are universal- the meaning of self, man's combat with God, the passion of love. He inhabits a timeless world, like the great poets of any language. and rise the ultimate questions about the meaning of life.

The center of Villa's universe is man, the puny inhabitant of a tiny planet, and the poet measures him fearlessly in the scale of perfection, which is God. He affirms God with a lyric exaltation allied to the religious mystics. Yet, on behalf of man, he challeges God in a daring afirmation that the creature made in His image contains in himself the seeds of His perfection.

To the art of poetry Villa introduced the reversed consonance ryhme scheme for greater subtlety and discipline, and the "comma poems" which glorify the punctuation mark by a strangely innovative functional and poetic use.

Villa's poems are distillates of wisdom and passion, couched in language of grave beauty and measured grace. In the country of the poet's imagination, word and thought often have a fresh but baffling "strangeness." This surely springs from the mixed Filipino cultural heritage which shapes the contours of the poet's thoughts and confers on his created language its characteristic ring and flavor. With Villa the Philippines is fixed firmly on the literary map of the world.


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