(A Caricature of a National Hero)
standing high on his mighty roost
he gazes, eyes fixed at Manila Bay;
ever insolent to sun and rain.
stiff and motionless he remains
unmindful of people passing by,
staring at him in awe, in respect.
his rigid face looks proud,
pleased that this lovely park
was named in his honor;
still astonished and wondering (maybe)
how his martyrdom made him a national hero.
but, was he not a genius? A fine breed…?
he holds his books on his left hand,
clutching them so close to his side
as though some jerky drunk at Luneta
would steal those twin novels for colonial reforms.
(he ignores the two soldiers guarding him!)
his dispute with Spanish friars and guardia civil ended
a century ago. Still, he stands solid, stiff, hardened,
unmoving, defiant and firm in concrete conviction
that he is the supreme custodian of freedom
for this dearly beloved Fatherland,
his “Pearl of the Orient Seas”.
(Rizal Centennial, December 30, 1996)
– between martyr and hero is monument.
(c) 1996 Chito L. Aguilar