Today for National Poetry Month, I selected a poem from Joseph O. Legaspi’s poetry book IMAGO.
Please share your thoughts on this poem below.
Killing A Chicken by Joseph O. Legaspi
Don’t forget to pick up a copy of IMAGO from our store.
Congrats to Joseph O. Legaspi on the UST Press (Manila) publication of his collection Imago!
Imago by Joseph O. Legaspi
Php 350.00 (please send order inquiries to email@example.com)
IMAGO is a stunning and, at times, painful love poem to the poet’s Philippine childhood. Set predominantly in a rural landscape, where folk remedies and beliefs still govern the ways of the locals, these remarkable poems are filled with riveting images and paradoxes—scales of milkfishes are “otherworldly raindrops” while boys wear their sister’s or grandmother’s skirts upon circumcision. Reading them is like witnessing a sequence of beautiful rituals. They remind me, once again, of just how much the culture of my and the poet’s first homeland—the one “I never conceived/ of leaving”—is built solidly on preserved customs and rescued traditions: being “baptized by green waters” of boiled guava leaves to remedy the first wounds of manhood, a consultation with a faith healer, a son burrowing his face in his mother’s hair, how it “tickled/ my ears, deadening/ the skeletons/ of nightmares.” Like a shaman, Legaspi returns the commonplace—those everyday moments we take for granted or have forgotten—back to the ceremonious, and the scars and memories to their dreams.
—R. Zamora Linmark
If our angels hover above us,
they will see a darkening cornfield, the spectral traces
of lightning bugs, and two brothers
lying among the stalks.
We come because sometimes it is hard to live.
The cornstalks, limp under the tropical sun,
revive in the cool of twilight.
The angels will know we have been here for hours.
They will land and rest their feathers around us
and whisper soothing names of winged things: finch, monarch,
whippoorwill, ptarmigan, Daedalus, Icarus, Gabriel…
The angels will bend down and touch their faces
onto ours and borrow our eyes: Earlier,
a horse slipped, breaking its leg.
A boy stood beside his younger brother.
Their father came into the stable, carrying a gun.
Quails flitted out of a bamboo tree; the boy
traced the trail that had led him here,
the field tilled by the dead horse,
where his brother laid down,
dust on his cheeks.