Curiosity Knows No Boundaries

Philosophica / Pilosopika Tula 55

By: J. Villa

Your profundity is very light
My lightness is very profound.
How so!
Impossible to know.

Difference is in the difference.
Impossibility to know
But with the straightest inference
Of the vital difference.

Not known, not defined,
Not even outlined.
But as your profundity moves
Itself disproves.

Now my lightness plays
And ends to amaze:
And the amaze is profound
Over my peculiar ground.


Translated By: H. Francia

Ang iyong kapahaman ay napakagaan
Ang aking kagaanan ay napakapaham.
Sa anong dahilan!
Hindi maaaring malaman.

Ang kaibahan ay nasa kaibahan.
Hindi maaaring malaman
Kundi sa pinakamatuwid na hinuhá
Ng kailangang kaibahan.

Hindi nalalaman, hindi niliwanagan,
Ni hindi binanghayan.
Ngunit habang gumagalaw ang iyong kapahaman
Ang sarili ay pinabubulaanan.

Ngayon ang aking kagaanan ay naglalaro
At natatapos upang pagtakhan:
At ang pagtataka ay napakapaham
Sa aking kakaibang batayan.

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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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