Ode to Amang

(Blogger’s Note: Here is a poem I wrote after my father died. I miss him everyday especially with what’s going on in the country.)

Dead at seventy-four,
In the Parthenon of heroes
You lay still
In the pit of earth.

I breathe in your shadow.
I bear your name.
And people look at me
In search of You.

I miss the sound of your pen on paper.
I miss the smell of your smoke.
I miss the touch of your wise eyes.
I miss the taste of your black coffee stale in a cup.

When we travelled, I held you hand.
To keep you straight, and dignified, I thought.
Yet, it was not my hand that made you tall;
But your mind and spirit that conquered age.

Someone once called you senile
In anger, I drew a dagger of words
You asked me gently to ignore the insult.
Then, you chuckled at the fire in my eyes.

Your well must never run dry, you said.
Get mad, but try to understand:
Every man has a story.
Every man has an end.

In mid-air your soul was taken.
I was too far to say goodbye.
They called you hero.
They called you great.
They called you statesman.

But I remember fondly when they called you senile.
When you returned their gesture with a smile,
Too smug were they, to hear the mighty sound
Of your pen on paper, lyrical, lucid and laced with nicotine.

Salamat, Amang.
Paalam.

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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  • Samsuntoast

    Toots,

    Wonderful, poignant, touching…..

    Samsuntoast

    P.S.

    I follow your blog regularly….Thanks…

  • Mendel

    19 September 2006

    Hi there toots,

    Those were the same (almost) words that Amang told me, ignore whatever bad happens or someone says bad things about you, try to understand that person.

    I look up to him as a mentor.

    Regards to madame susan.

    Mendel

  • rey s.d.

    boss, hope you don’t mind (with you permission) if we could reprint this touching and well-crafted poem in our newsletter “Kabayanihan”. Ako 2 ang nami-miss ko si Amang mo at si Ka Mario. regards to you and estelle.

  • rey s.d.

    boss, hope you don’t mind (with your kind permission) if we could reprint this touching and well-crafted poem in our newsletter “Kabayanihan”. Ako 2 ang nami-miss ko si Amang mo at si Ka Mario. regards to you and estelle.

  • estelle

    hi mom. 🙂 just wanted to *hug* you and tell you that you’re not alone in missing Lolo. We’ll visit him soon, okay? 🙂 *hug* just dropping by your bloooog!