La Reina

Out of the many Pablo Neruda poems, I chose this one.

I particularly like this one because for me, this has a unique feel to it. It does not contain flowery words, flattery is not evident, and most importantly, a guy made this poem. It makes the poem extra-special. To think that a guy would write such beautiful lines—he, Pablo Neruda, made it seem effortless. It’s like he has a natural talent to put together words that make much sense, and at the same time these words appeal to the heart. Imagine what you would feel if you read these words, and know that they were made for you.

The queen.

It’s amazing how much attention a person can give to you. That person keeps on giving you attention, noticing the tiniest of details—the freckle on your cheek, the dimple on the small of your back, the way your lips curve up to form a smile—memorizing every bit of you. Once someone gives you that level of attention, it’s almost certain that that person truly loves you.

Pablo Neruda managed to make this poem very sweet in a very unique way. He did not use flattery, in fact, he even degraded the person that he loved.

 

 

I have named you queen.
There are taller than you, taller.
There are purer than you, purer.
There are lovelier than you, lovelier.
But you are the queen.

He said there are girls taller that her.
He said there are girls purer than her.
He said there are girls lovelier than her.

Amid all of that, with her not being perfect, for him she still is the queen. In his eyes, she is the one. The one and only. In his eyes there is nothing more perfect.

When you go through the streets
No one recognizes you.
No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks
At the carpet of red gold
That you tread as you pass,
The nonexistent carpet.

In this stanza, he degraded the girl even more. He made the girl seem invisible to other people. But not him. He sees differently. For him she wears a crystal crown, for him she walks in a carpet of red and gold, for him she walks in a way that makes his head turn. This, this is the kind of attention I was talking about earlier. I play out a certain scene in my head when I read these lines. I imagine a very shy girl walking through the crowded hallways of the school. She passes by, barely smiling at her classmate every time she sees them, and the crowd barely notices her. She drifts through effortlessly, walking unnoticed amid a sea of people. And then there’s this guy. He immediately turns his head and faces her as he sees her coming. His eyes widen, his lips form a small smile, and he sees his queen. He sees not the perfect girl, but the girl he wants, the girl he loves. And then they walk off together towards the cafeteria to grab lunch.

And when you appear
All the rivers sound
In my body, bells
Shake the sky,
And a hymn fills the world.

This part shows just what effect the girl has on him. She makes his body resonate with the sweet sound of affection. When he sees her, his world lights up, immediately filling up with color, becoming a whole lot lovelier and livelier than what it was before. An orchestra of feelings play the sweet symphony of happiness upon seeing her. And in that moment, a hymn fills the world.

Only you and I,
Only you and I, my love,
Listen to it.

This is the special moment they share. Together, they listen to that symphony. Together, they enjoy the feeling of their hearts intertwining to produce even lovelier sounds. In their world, there are only two. Him, and her. And nothing can change that. In his world, there is only him, and his queen. And that’s all that matters.


Pablo Neruda’s style appeals to me. I’ve repeated this, but I really like how he degraded the girl just to show how special she is to him. He has called her his queen. And that, I think is very sweet of him.  I like how different his perception of his love is. He knows that there are lovelier girls out there, but he does not care. He has found his queen.

P.S.

Hooray for the last blog entry! I had a great year in English!

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The Ugly Truth

“To those who understand life, that would have given a much greater air of truth to my story. For I do not want anyone to read my book carelessly.  I have suffered too much grief in setting down these memories.  Six years have already passed since my friend went away from me, with his sheep. If I try to describe him here, it is to make sure that I shall not forget him. To forget a friend is sad. Not everyone has had a friend.  And if I forget him, I may become like the grownups who are no longer interested in anything but figures…”

littleprince-cg-07152016

credits: nerdist.com

Out of the many quotable quotes and interesting phrases in the whole book, this is what piqued my interest. Now, admittedly there are quite a lot more striking sentences in the whole story but I chose this one. Why, you ask? It’s because of the truth lurking behind these words.

With that in mind, think about the last three sentences of this paragraph.

The first two sentences are very direct, with no other intention aside from informing you of the general truth. To forget a friend is sad. Yes, it is. It’s disheartening. But I know I don’t have to explain why it’s sad. We all have our experiences which are more than enough to make us realize why we feel sad every time we “forget” a friend.

Not everyone has had a friend. This, on the other hand, I could probably shed some light upon those people who don’t think this is true. Try to tell a person that you don’t have a friend and you’d get the I-don’t-believe-you look from them. Actually, this is true. I cannot be more thankful that I have loving friends. Sadly, not all of us are graced with that. Some people—socially awkward ones, most likely—find it hard to connect with people and be friends with them. Some get a hold of it and come around to being comfortable with people, but some just cannot. Perhaps a kind soul would accompany them to run errands a few times, go to the same place together, eat lunch. But that is not what I call a friend. It’s a person being kind. Eventually, maybe, they finally get to be friends, but in the few weeks before that moment, that person doesn’t have a friend. It’s sad, honestly. So remember this, do what you can in order to keep you friends.

I think I’ve said enough about that. I hope to recover from the unorganized thoughts I’ve carelessly put into words that you, in return, read because you either have to, or want to.

And if I forget him, I may become like the grownups who are no longer interested in anything but figures…

Every day we grow. Get older by the second.  Learn a bunch of things every minute that passes by. I, myself am aware of this, and I can no longer look away from the already apparent truth about being a young adult. I am only in my teenage years, but I am increasingly becoming more aware of the way things change as we approach adulthood. The last sentence of the paragraph I have chosen is one of the many unfortunate things that reinforce the aforesaid statement.

I have noticed some things with people as they age. First, and probably the most disturbing thing is that people do things because they need to do it, not because they want to do it. See, there’s a vast difference between the two. Most of us develop hobbies at a young age, and these hobbies are the things we want to do. Just like the aviator’s interest in drawing. But what happens? Adults often ridicule these things, or regard them as useless or irrelevant—just like the adults telling the aviator to stop drawing and learn things that would be of help to his life. I hate it when these things happen. Who knows what could have happened if he hadn’t stopped drawing?

Just like people nowadays, we can’t seem to find time to do the things that we want. We are all busy with work, school or business. I can say that adults, indeed, are no longer interested in anything but figures. Electric bill. Water bill. Thirteenth month pay. Tax. When something goes wrong with money—even the tiniest and most petty problems—the world becomes a heap of chaos and disarray. Blah. It’s not a very pleasing sight. I’m not saying it’s bad. It is okay to worry about money for good reasons, because you want to help your family and such. But please, don’t let it ruin you and your connection with people. I have seen relationships being severed by money and I tell you it’s not worth it.

Don’t value figures so much. It will destroy you.

From the Eyes of Roncinante

from-pinimg-com-hehe

photo taken from: pinimg.com

 “Over conceits of this sort the poor gentleman lost his wits, and used to lie awake striving to understand them and worm the meaning out of them; what Aristotle himself could not have made out or extracted had he come to life again for that special purpose”.

Don Quixote,

I want people to understand your personality. I want them to see your story from my eyes, my perspective, and my standpoint.

I could neigh all I want but I know that in this world humans can’t understand animals, and I have wished for as long as I can remember that humans could, just as we animals understand you. So in this fictitious world where I could write and you could understand it, I wish to say all I want to you.

Continuously searching for the meaning of things, you have driven yourself mad. You have been reading extensively on books, and you seem to have a thing for books on chivalry. The long tales of the adventures of a knight seem to have piqued your interest. Greatly encouraged by this, you decided to be a knight-errant.

You spent four whole days thinking of a name for me, and it is my pleasure to inform you that I am greatly honored to have been given that name. Every time you call my name, I hear a man with pride calling out his companion, set to do chivalrous things. That is why I am pleased that you have chosen me.

You and I are alike in many ways. We are both far past our prime, a tad bit awkward, and we’re both engaged in activities that are beyond our capacities—you with your quest as a knight, me as your most loyal companion. With this, I say that I am not only your horse, but also your double.

Through many years, I have seen you grow both physically and mentally. After being absorbed in books, you have gained more intellect than the usual man. I adore you, master. The things you understand you see differently, and the things you don’t comprehend you try to understand. People like you are rare—people who try to make sense of everything, not just leaving them be. Master, I wish more people are like you.

People say you have lost your wits. I can’t say that’s untrue, but I have noticed something. You have a unique power, master. With your madness, you see things differently. You transform people’s outward characteristics to match your very own perception of them. You might not understand what I mean here. Let me give you an example. Remember the time we went to that inn, where you thought the inn was a castle? There were two girls in the gate there, and when you greeted them as “maidens”, they laughed. They think that being called “maidens” are way out of their line. But what happened? Yes, they laughed, but try to remember how they treated you—they offered you something to eat, and even helped you when you were having trouble eating. Try to understand just what power you have.

I feel sorry for you every time you are given a strange look by the people you just met. Every time you quote something poetic, their faces distort to a form where it suggests something between disgust and bewilderment. I hate how people ridicule you and your ideas. They fail to see the beauty of having an imagination as wide as the universe itself, because theirs is narrower than the crowded streets. We need people like you in the world, master. People whose imaginations have no limit.

Our time has long passed, and now in modern times I see a similar situation. When I see people roaming the streets, seeming quite out of their own mind, I remember you. Some passers-by say that they are of great intellect too, and my heart aches a little. Seeing them there, with no proper place to stay in, having no clean clothes, where is the justice in this world? Those who can be of help roam the streets helpless. Sometimes I think that maybe their situation is the same as yours, truly, and that is why they were isolated, excluded from what the society calls normal nowadays. I just wish people would try and understand their situation, and preferably help them, just as your neighbour helped you get back to your house when you were beaten down.

Thank you, master, for giving me a different outlook on life, for teaching me not to judge people based on how they look, what they wear, and how they seem.

 

Your most loyal companion,

Roncinante

note:

sooo i just tried writing a blog entry in a different style hehehe i hope this is okay, though, and you get my message. 🙂

 

The One With Two Sides

hector

photo taken from: pinterest.com

Man-slaying Hector. Hector of the shining helmet. Horse-taming Hector.

Hector is the mightiest warrior in the Trojan army, as stated in his epithets. He wreaks havoc on the Aechean army. Our brain immediately goes stereotyping—we get an image of a strong man, who has an ever so lightly tanned skin, covered with battle scars, with bulky arms and a buff body, wearing heavy armor. The way he stands up and carries his body is truly remarkable—straight, held up high, confidence oozing off him. Perhaps this is because he is a work of art, a living statue, carved by ten long years of battle. When he enters a room, all heads turn toward him. Now, only a great man can do such. He catches the attention of everyone without him having to exert even the tiniest amount of effort. It’s just who he is.

family-man

photo taken from: creativecrunk.com

Hector looked at his son in silence, with a smile.

Hector? Yes, hector. Hector with the buff arms. You would never expect a man-slayer to be described in such a soft manner, let alone even imagine him smile. In the latter part of book six of the Iliad, hector is described as a tender, family-oriented man. This becomes evident as he talks to his beloved wife, Andromache, as she nurses their son, Astyanax. He shows connection and deep, sincere love to his wife and child. I say with a heavy heart that this scene, I think, is the saddest scene in the whole book. His wife pleads him to not go into battle, even though she already anticipated his not-so-good ending. I would’ve loved for him to not go into battle, and instead stay back home and be a dad. Unfortunately, even though he loves his family very much, he never loses sight of his responsibility to Troy, and goes into battle anyway.

The two descriptions are very different; it’s hard to believe that they’re descriptions of the same person. There’s only one key difference, though. The place they’re in. One description is for Hector in the battlefield, the other one is for him inside his house.

This is the portrait of the warrior at home.

People have different personalities, always. There’s never one fixed personality for us, never. We’re never always happy, or never always sad. Never always triumphant, never always a failure. That is true for all of us. We’re social beings, and our behavior depends on the people who surround us. That’s applicable even in the case of Hector. When in the battlefield, surrounded by fellow warriors, his warrior instincts kick in. He’d be the man-slaying Hector that we all know. However, when he’s around his family, he becomes a totally different person. He becomes the type of person you’d least expect him to be. A family man. He’s unstoppable at the battlefield, but he speaks to his wife with such control, being very careful not to hurt her feelings. Even me, I have different personalities. I’m usually rowdy and noisy around friends, but I’m a different person when I’m with my family. I’m the sweet, good girl. That is true, though it sounds funny. I can’t even imagine myself being sweet. Ha. It’s funny how my personality can change in the snap of a finger. Sometimes it’s influenced by my mood, the current events, or by the people around me. Whatever the case, I can definitely say that I don’t have just one personality.

Well, I think it’s better that we should expect very diverse personalities from people, so that when the time comes that we interact with them when they’re not their usual self, we won’t be shocked as much as we would if we would not have expected it. I do this, and well, it kind of works for me. Like when a person who’s usually very apathetic shows the least bit of interest in something I say. I’m usually quite taken aback at first, but in the end I’ve come to accept it. Numerous things can trigger the manifestations of these personalities. In Hector’s case, having a family triggered his being soft-spoken and tender, and his being family-oriented. For me, it’s quite comforting to learn about and get acquainted with this side of Hector. It shows that he still has feelings, that he’s still human, that not every five seconds a battle scene materializes in his head.

When you’re a warrior, the greatest one in fact, maybe you’re not always a warrior. Maybe sometimes you’re just a dad.

Summer Rain

All of us have experienced some kind of suffering before, in our own retarded ways. Say for example, you’re socially awkward, and you’re forced to go to a rave party. Loud music, rainbow-colored lights, the collective noise of people cheering for no reason—all of these things you hate. Being stuck in a crowded room full of strangers makes you want to disintegrate into nothingness in a snap. See? Suffering. Say you’re an advocate for human rights. All these extrajudicial killings, murders, poverty—all of these breaks your heart a little. A lot, rather. Suffering. Suffering. Suffering everywhere. It’s inevitable.

There are infinite ways on how a person can suffer. Along with that, there are also many levels of suffering. Well, at least for me. Kind of like being hungry, you know, hungry, starving, famished, and ravenous—all four words convey the same thing but are of different intensities. No sane human being will just shrug off the misery they experience. Whether it is light or heavy, grief is still grief. What we become after experiencing such things depends solely on how we deal with the situation.

But if I speak, my pain is not relieved,
and if I refrain from speaking
how much of it goes away?

Job 16:6

How people deal with suffering part one: Keeping it all to themselves.

These three lines capture perfectly the struggle in my head each time I experience difficulties. I think about whether or not I will share it to my friends, because I believe that sharing my experience to my friends has a little bit of cathartic effect for it helps lessen the torment I feel. At the same time, I don’t want to burden my friends with problems that I have to deal with. It’s a constant battle of “yes, please do” and “don’t even think about it” inside my already confused brain. Because of overthinking, I end up doing nothing. Hah. As time passes by, I just let things run on its due course.

Contrary to what the passage says, I think otherwise. It actually helps me when I voice out to my closest friends. I know for a fact that they won’t judge me when I become all melodramatic and stuff. They don’t even have to talk. Just listening to what I have to say is a great help already. Speaking solely from experience, I’d rather not refrain from speaking. I can’t let emotions like these be cooped up in a tiny space. It’s suffocating. It’s like having a time bomb inside of you, waiting for the right moment to explode. Once the “bomb” explodes, a waterfall of tears stream down your eyes.

My face is reddened because of weeping,
and on my eyelids there is a deep darkness,
although there is no violence in my hands
and my prayer is pure.

Job 16: 16-17

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photo taken from: http://www.pinterest.com

How people deal with suffering part two: Crying the hell out.

It is okay for us to cry sometimes. Don’t be like me, one who constantly builds up unwanted emotions on the inside. One time, I was so full of this that I literally cried—sobbed, actually—in front of my parents. It did not feel good, I’m telling you.  I can feel the anger and hate inside of me itching to make its way out of my system through my eyes. The waterworks just won’t stop. I mean, I’m thankful that they were there to comfort me, but I don’t want them to see my vulnerability. I want them to picture me always smiling. Strong. I don’t want to make them worry. Ever since that incident I’ve allowed myself to cry every once in a while, just to let out all the negative things I’ve been feeling.

What causes me to feel these things?

Easy. Bad things. They happen almost everyday.

Living by the constant fear of losing someone important is enough suffering for me. Efforts not credited, hard work not appreciated, good deeds unnoticed—all these small things can make me suffer too. I think it’s safe to say that during the times that we suffer the most, we deem it the lowest point of our lives. I don’t believe I had mine already, though some events in the past put me in a low position. I have only been living in this world for fifteen years. For the time being, I have already experienced a lot, and I know for a fact that these experiences helped me in one way or another. One thing’s for sure though—we don’t know what the future holds.

Whatever can happen, will happen.

Maybe one day everything’s all good, and then the next day the world comes crushing down on you. We never know. Maybe bad things happen because we need it. It’s the universe’s way of reminding us to live fruitfully and make the most of our time.

Let me give you an example.

A few times my daddy was confined at the hospital. He spent days in the ICU, and I only got to visit him during the visiting hours. It pains me to see him have a hard time, like when he wants to speak but he can’t because of the numerous tubes connected to his body. One time, while we were staying in one of the regular rooms, we were trying to wake him up because of the regular visit of the nurse—to check on his blood pressure, give him medication, the usual. I was trying to wake him up but I couldn’t. Even my mom can’t. The nurse finally decided to call for help, and I kid you not, seeing other nurses rush into the room while telling us to go out might have been the scariest experience that I had. Panic started to rush in and bad thoughts started to fill my mind. I badly wanted to help but I knew I couldn’t. All I can do is cry. I was so scared at the thought of losing my father. It’s a good thing my mom was there to comfort me. Thankfully, the nurses were able to wake him up. They decided to transfer him to the ICU for close monitoring. Now, my dad’s health is good and he has scheduled check-ups to keep track of his health.

Like I said, I think this was the universe’s way of telling me to make the most of our time with the people we love. This event made me realize that I might lose my father one day. He’s not immortal. So after that particular event I always make the most of my time with my dad. I often give him hugs and keep things good between us by having a very good father-daughter relationship.

In the low points of my life, though, I did not doubt God. I know He made me experience this for a reason, and I know He has better plans for me. Experiencing unwanted things is no reason for us to doubt our faith in Him.

You’re playing outside with your wonderful friends. Oh, what a happy day. But then you see gray clouds up ahead. You start to worry. And then it drizzles. After a while it’s pouring. You and your friends are forced to go back inside. So sad. When it’s summertime and it suddenly rains, don’t worry. Rain in the middle of summer doesn’t mean it’s gonna rain forever. We don’t stop believing in the sun when it’s raining, nor when the clouds block it.

The Irony of Choking On a Lifesaver

How very ironic. In Gilgamesh’s case, who he thought could bring his sorrows to an end only brought despair in the end.

“To weariness; I wish for something more
For part of me is missing; n’er before
Has loneliness oppressed me so; a friend
Is what I need to make these sorrows end.”

He was hopeful—upon learning through the wisdom of his mother that he was to encounter a friend, hope flooded the heart of our forlorn king. I find it funny how they met and ultimately became friends—one second they’re punching the life out of each other, and the next thing you know they’re okay. Best of friends, even. They’re almost comparable to a couple in that sense. Overlooking that fact, if there’s one thing that I like about the whole story of their meeting, it would be the fact that they stared into each other’s eyes. In that fraction of a moment, both have managed to pierce the each other’s shell, for they saw their true likeness. I believe that what Gilgamesh saw was the soul of Enkidu, his true nature, his very essence. Since then, they have formed a bond. As the story progressed, we have read about them journeying through Humbaba’s woods, them having a hard time slaying the beast, them resting from their very tiring encounter with him. We have felt Enkidu’s pain from his injuries. We have felt their combined power, strengthened by their seemingly unbreakable bond, as they slayed the Bull of Heaven. For a time, it seemed that our king was finally at ease. He was out on a quest with a dear friend, what more could he have wanted? For a time it seemed that our king finally found what he needed.

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photo taken from: tumblr.com

Oh, how the tables have turned.

“A constant flood of tears did wash the face
Of Gilgamesh. His soul could find no place
To rest, since painful grief did prick his heart;
A gnawing hunger deep within, apart
From other sorrows, searched the hidden nooks
About his being, like the wolf that looks
For easy, younger prey within a lair
Among the rocks, but tasting only musty air.
That hunger was the name of Enkidu;
He spoke it often, as his sorrows grew.”

lonely-1

photo taken from: wallpaperup.com

He was miserable—with his only friend gone, sorrow filled the heart of our upset king. Loneliness left him and came right back like a boomerang. To be very honest, I pity our king. I feel sad for him, for he’s lonely once more. No friend, no known sibling (at least none was mentioned in the story), no any kind of being to keep him company. I, personally, share his longing for a companion. Being an only child, being alone in our house is nothing new for me. It’s hard for me, especially at times when I just want to talk to someone—nothing serious; just casual girl talk—when I’m at home. When I turn my head, I see no friend. I see no sibling. I see no companion (unless you count a cute four-year old dog who can’t understand a thing I say). With these stated, I try my best to connect with people, especially when I find a common field of interest with them. What I wonder now is why our king hasn’t made any friends. Was it his attitude? Did he seem intimidating? I suddenly think about how I come across to people as these questions continue to bug me. I have rooted for Enkidu and Gilgamesh since they became friends, and that is exactly why I felt sad to see one of them go. I cannot imagine the pain that Gilgamesh must have been feeling. There are many kinds of pain—the pain you get when your toes get stubbed, the pain you get when your favorite character in a book dies, the pain you get when your heart gets broken, the pain you get when a friend walks away from you. What hurts the most is seeing your friend leave when you can do absolutely nothing about it. Just try to imagine how hard it must have been for our king. Death just can’t be escaped.

“For Gilgamesh no longer seemed as king,
But played the common man, since sorrows bring
Confusion to the soul; he sought escape
To hide from everyone and made a cape”

He was confused—having felt the agony of losing a friend, uncertainty filled the heart of our perplexed king. Losing Enkidu brought upon our king a great deal of emotional damage. We of all people know this, since it was evident throughout the latter part of the epic. Well, losing a friend would bring upon any of us a great deal of damage. Our king no longer seemed as king. He has lost a very important part of him along with Enkidu. His sorrows were great, his confusion greater. I think that “Why must this happen to me?” is the question that our king constantly asks himself. He was confused because the world gave him Enkidu and also took him away. Gone for good, for all eternity. Ouch. Our king, badly wanting to have his friend back, just can’t stand this thought.

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photo credits: Ruben Ornelas on Pinterest

“I bring a heavy heart because of loss; how weak
I feel without my friend, who died; I seek
Eternal life for which to give my friend;
Then joy I’ll have and grief with sorrows end.”

He was desperate—not thinking straight, anguish filled the heart of our lonely king. Losing Enkidu drove the sanity out of him. Our king stated that he felt weak without his friend. I think that because of the aforesaid, ways on how to live eternally clouded his mind. He was willing to explore new grounds and experience all sorts of new things just to bring his friend back to life. He thinks that the only way that he’ll be happy again is by giving life to the already gone Enkidu, and making sure that he not lose him again by giving him eternal life. He was so stuck on the thought that the both of them needed to live eternally that he failed to live—at those times he was merely surviving, and the two are very different things. Gilgamesh can’t fully grasp the fact that death is irreversible. Once you’re gone, you’re gone. From these facts, I say that our king is emotionally unstable. It was obvious that he can’t handle grief well. He just can’t let go of his friend and mend his broken heart—shattered, rather. Yes, letting go will be very hard, but with the help of a few deep breaths and a comforting mother, he’ll eventually accept the fact that his friend died. I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen to me, like, I’ll go insane when I lose someone that’s a part of my life. I definitely would not want to see myself moping around like a depressed freak. Oh dear Shamash, no.

How ironic it is to choke on your lifesaver.

Reading the Epic of Gilgamesh made me realize the pain one has to go through every time one loses a friend. It made me ponder on the thought of what power grief and loneliness contain, what it can do to you once you have felt them. Some people lose their sanity. Worse, some even lose their life. Reading this epic helped me prepare for the darker and more sinister side of emotions. Thank you, King Gilgamesh for being very expressive with how you felt.

 

P.S.
Italicized excerpts are taken from “The Epic of Gilgamesh: A Poetic Version by Robert W. Watson”