Myself I wash for another wake.
Yesterday has died, today is
Dying; tomorrow will soon be dead.
Myself I dress for another time
To masquerade myself—nearer,
Nearer to the halls of death!
This world explodes with daily wakers
Who throng the aisle with masks of mirth
While the flimsy seconds fling in silence
To welcome each death after each birth.
In thousand disguises I promenade
Along the parks, oblivious of death.
Smiles and laughter are diadem;
My legacy from Mother Earth, my armor
Against the castigating rod of death!
And where are the ghosts I have yearly
Killed? Skeletons are only for the closet
Which is the grave. My sky is empyrean,
My sun is gold; though my wings are sedan,
Yet my wounds will always be healed.
There are balms to soothe, coats to hide
The ugly scars, the darnels of the years.
Slowly, slowly little waker,
Sign your name among the guests
Who defy the arid gloom of death!
Myself I wash for another wake
Let time be still in my vigil for death!
From Our Hidden Galaxette (Manila: 1970; New York: 2013)