Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Eulogy of Roaches by Bienvenido Lumbera

Blessed are the cockroaches.

In this country they are
the citizens who last,
They need no police
to promulgate their peace
because they tolerate
each other’s smell or greed.

Friends to dark and filth,
they do not choose their meat.
Although they neither sow
nor reap, a daily feast
is laid for them in rooms
and kitchens of their pick.

The roaches do not spin,
and neither do they weave.
But note the russet coat
the sluggards wear: clothed
at birth, roaches require
no roachy charity.

They settle where they wish
and have no rent to pay.
Eviction is a word
quite meaningless to them
who do not have to own
their dingy crack of wall.

Not knowing dearth or taxes,
they increase and multiply.
Survival is assured
even the jobless roach:
his opportunities
pile up where garbage grows.

Dying is brief and cheap
and thus cannot affright.
A whiff of toxic mist,
an agile heel, a stick
—the swift descent of pain
is also final death.

Their annals may be short,
but when the simple poor
have starved to simple death,
roaches still circulate
in cupboards of the rich,
the strong, the wise, the dead.

1 comment: