Wednesday, October 05, 2005

De Jesus, Gregoria. "Nostalgia." In Julio Nakpil and the Philippine Revolution, ed. and trans. Encarnacion Alzona. Manila, 1964. 177-81.


The original poem in Tagalog has no title, but after reading it, we believe it can very well be titled Nostalgia. Perhaps Gregoria de Jesus, its author, had no time to polish it. Oriang, her pet name, is written at the end.

The following is an English version of it done by Professor Teodoro A. Agoncillo of the University of the Philippines.

Darling, ever since you left
Body and heart have been ill at ease
Slow is the flow of the blood in my veins
More so when I remember your kind treatment

Deep has been my sorrow
At your untimely departure and leaving me bereft
I had fears for what you will meet on the way
And, too, for your safety
I go to the window to peek

That in food you might be wanting
Hours you might pass in hunger
Dire illness might overtake you
About which you always complain to me.

Where will this situation lead
The body is too small for the deep sorrow
Uneasy am I when myself I enjoy and eat
When seated and standing my thoughts are of you

At the same time saying, "Suffer, my body,
To you happiness is yet incomplete
Comfort is just beginning to come
When, at once, I thought of leaving you."

And at night I lie me down on the mat
Sleepy eyes at once will close
In my sleep you are my dream, my Sweet,
Tears I could not control fall down

In the morning I rise slowly
My hand holds my aching heart
Into the dangerous place you had gone

After peeking I would go out
To the low dining table
When I see the place where you used to sit
My breast would break, my breathing slow

I keep my sorrow to myself
I could not express to my companions
You have made my heart suffer
Your sweet parting word, "Suffer, my love."


To me your sincere advice
Look for happiness and console your heart
I enjoy myself for a moment, then at once I cease
I think what had happened to you

My head I would bow, my tears would fall
I become uneasy, my walk slow
I enter the small room, carefully I prepare
The clothes I would wear when I leave

You will forget this pitiable one
Whose life will cross the sea
Sickness at departure, to suffering I go
Your day of happiness will rise in the end.

I'm leaving like the smoke
When the white goes up, I'm like a cobweb
My only advice, remember, my love,
Do not tear our secret open

Farewell to you who love so well
Master of my heart and half of my body.
Farewell now this one you treated so kindly
Farewell, loved one, to you farewell

With happiness to you I bestow
The handkerchief that wipes away tears
If perchance I meet with misfortune, my life ends
Dead though I may be yet will I meet with you

Today, 31 August 1897. -- 0riang

"Gladly to you I will offer
The narrative poem when I sailed the seas,
Read for a moment and don't be impatient
So you'll know its contents."

There was once, in Pasig, a couple in love
The girl thought of sailing the sea,
She called a calesa, at once she rode in
And she went at once to the barrio of Bangbang.

After resting at once she was invited
By an acquaintance of long standing
Without much ado she accepted in order to cure
Her fever, the malaise she was feeling.

Upon going up the house she at once told
The one who extended the invitation, who was weak,
The latter stood up and prepared the bed
And said to her: "Do go to bed."


When she lay down imagine her sadness:
Sorrow her mat, lament her pillow;
Grief her covering, so weak she could not move,
The tears in her eyes she allowed to flow

In the morning, at the break of dawn,
She ordered one of the companions
To go out immediately
To look where the loved one had gone

The one ordered set out at once
In search of the loved one spoken about
Not long after she returned,
To her she appeared with joy.

Slowly she told her:
"Banish now your uneasiness,
Your loved one and darling is,
It seems to me, all right and safe.

This one to whom she was talking
Set her mind at ease;
She told her companion
To look for a vehicle they would ride in.

Slowly they walked again
Her illness has not diminished
And they stopped at a store
Near the river which was a resting place.

When they had stopped there came
An acquaintance from whom they would seek information,
With difficulty she stood up and at once approached
And asked where he came from.

In the course of their conversation she mentioned
The dangers the loved one passed through,
Her past grief at once returned
And deepened, and her breathing became difficult.

Not long after there came also
Five treacherous enemies;
Her heartbeat became faster
Because of the sufferings experienced.

The vehicle arrived and she wanted to board it
She could not lift her feet, as if with weight
She wanted to turn back, but was undecided
Because her other companions were already on board.

Her condition made her look like a child
And had herself earried to the barge,
Inside she rested
And then she climb to the top


Here she sat and spent the whole night
In the cold dew and under the moonlight
She suffered the said coldness,
The town she loved she refused to desert.

What shall she do even if she weeps
Nothing will come out of her lonely love
When she looked back, when she cast her eyes
She found herself in the middle of a wide sea.

The fast sailing was no little matter
The beloved town at once was left behind,
When she remembered the loved one left behind
Her breast would burst, her life would ebb.

When she reached the middle of the wide sea
Slowly to the cabin she went down
She lay down on the mat
And she wept ceaselessly.

It was not long when morning came again
The boat stopped at the town of Biñan,
They hired a banca and then they boarded it
And asked that they be brought to San Pedro Tunasan.

When she arrived here needless to say
All offered grief and happiness
The said grief was no other than
Innuendoes reserved for her.

Happily they told her
Banish your grief,
"Though I wish, my Love, to banish grief
I cannot for I'm surrounded by sorrows."

Needless to say in the morrow
They had someone from Pasig sent;
Her sorrows deepened all the more
Always uneasy and weak.

"Slowly I bring out the picture you gave
Tears will flow, then look intensely at you
Accompanied with my sighs
With the words, 'Suffer all this.'

After looking at you the picture will be covered
And hidden in the place where it was taken
She would wipe the tears from her eyes
Her heart's grief she could not hold back.

"If I look for happiness, I'm ignored
The pain of my heart predominates
No one but you are the cause
The balm of your medicine to me you apply."


"In you lies the joy that will make me happy
In you lies the sorrow that will make me cry
In you also lies the good treatment
And in you lies my eternal happiness."

If one thinks of marriage
Serious and difficult if one thinks of it ,
When the moment of trouble comes
At the short separation, sorrow sets in.

San Pedro Tunasan, September, 97 -- Oriang