With permission of the poet, we celebrate POETRY with a da Costa poem followed by his brief narrative that will enhance your understanding of an aspect of Filipino culture and tradition.
THE RICE PLANT
I held him by his slender neck
To pierce him under his chin
And saw white sap trickle forth
Like milk spills from a tin.
I shook him strongly by his thigh
To feel him flail like a fish
And heard his hands’ helpless sigh
Like sand shaken in a dish.
I bravely bent his youthful bone,
Which sprang with a painful cry—
I wondered how one so green and wet
Should so resemble I—
For I am brown and dry.
Gonzalinho da Costa shares:
Rice is a symbol of Southeast Asia—kindly note, for example, the bound rice sheaf in the ASEAN logo. Malays, who include, principally, Malaysians, Indonesians, and Filipinos, consider themselves a “br…