Kapitbahay lang natin ang mga sinasamba nating diyos: A translation to Filipino of “The gods we worship live next door” by Bienvenido Santos

(This translation was made some time ago and first appeared on my Facebook account. It is a creative translation, which means at some points I took the liberty in meaning to match rhyme, but I took care to keep the poem’s original thought.)

 

The gods we worship live next door

The gods we worship live next door. They’re brown
and how easily they catch cold sneezing
too late into their sleeves and brandishing
their arms in air. Fear grips us when they frown
as they walk past our grim deformities
dragging with them the secret scent of love
bought by the ounce from gilded shops above
the rotunda of the bright cities.

In the cold months of fog and heavy rains
our gods die one by one and caskets golden
are borne on the hard pavements at even
down roads named after them, across the plains
where all gods go. Oh, we outlive them all,
but there are junior gods fast growing tall.

 

Kapitbahay lang natin ang mga sinasamba nating diyos

Kapitbahay lang natin ang mga sinasamba nating diyos. Maiitim
At kay dali nilang sipunin
Huli nang bumabahing
sa mga manggas na mamahalin,
At iwinawagayway ang mga kamay sa hangin.

Nababalot tayo ng takot
Kapag sila’y napasisimangot
tuwing madadaanan
Ang ating malalagim na karimlan,
kaladkad nila ang alindog
Ng mga maluluhong pabangong handog
Ng mga kay sosyal na tindahan, doon
Sa mga rotunda ng nagliliwanagang nayon

Sa malalamig na mga buwan ng ulan at gabon
Isa-isang namamatay ‘tong mga diyos, kinakahon
sa mga maliligdong na kabaong, at magagarbong porlon
ang nagpaparada sa kanila sa mga daananan
– na sa kanila rin (o sa ninuno) pinangalan-
Tungo doon, lagpas pa sa hacienda, kung saan
Lahat ng diyos ay mamamahinga.
A! Mas magtatagal tayo sa kanila
Ngunit ayan, may mga umuudlot na namang diyos, mas bata!

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