To Celia

When memories return to rest
On by-gone days full love blest,
Who may be met therein impressed
Save Celia [1] nestling in my breast?

That Celia who – I always fret
Lest she our cherished love forget –
Has willed my fate be thus beset
With misery, none deeper yet.

Can I refrain from poring o'er
The faded leaves of love's memoir,
The love she yielded me before,
The pains I spent, the griefs I bore?

Those sweet, sweet days have languished by
Love only lingers yet, and I
Must hold it bosomed, ne'er to die
Till in my couch of earth I lie.

Now that bereavement dims my days,
I would, their shadows to displace,
Redeem the past in thought, and chase
Gloom with remembrance of your face –

That which the brush with tender art
Has limned upon my sense and heart,
The one pledge left – your counterpart,
To bide with me till life depart.

My soul is wont to wander through
Those haunts your darling footsteps knew –
Low Hilom, Beata's stream [2], whereto
The heart directs each beat anew.

How oft reverie I behold
That mango tree nigh which we strolled,
Whose hanging fruits you fain would hold
Hath now my orphaned love consoled.

Myself I gave as sacrifice,
When ill you lay, to rending sighs,
And as these hallowed seemed to rise,
The leaking room turned paradise.

I woo the image of your face
Which cool Makati-tides [3] embrace,
And as its pleasant banks retrace
Through stepping stones, your wonted pace.

[1] Celia = refers to Maria Asuncion Rivera, a native of Pandacan, the M.A.R. in the closing stanza.

[2] Hilom and Beata = are two small tributaries of the Pasig River, branching off at Pandacan.

[3] Makati = is another Pasig tributary farther up in the suburbs of Manila.

Learn this Filipino word:

may uód sa katawán