for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

dawn (agsapa): lyric poem

I take a break from my haiku to share an exhilarating moment I’ve had when my poem in Iluko, the dialect I was born with but never wrote with until now, was published in Bannawag, a vernacular magazine of the Ilocanos in northern Philippines.

Writing from the spirit for me is true writing. While I’m re-learning my tongue like a child, I find in it each time the soul of my expression. The source of my anguish must be its imprisonment in the tangled web of borrowed thought and language. But kneading them together now has allowed me bouts of sheer joy. 


(as featured poem in Newsletter, Spring 2010, with Iluko version as edited and published in Bannawag, the Ilocano vernacular magazine of the Ilocos region in northern Philippines, May 16, 2009 and English version as translated by the author)

in Iluko

dagiti bituen idi mangngegda
ti as-asug
dagiti bulong iti sipnget
dagiti pinatanor ti lawag
iti danarudor
dagiti agam-ammangaw

awan pakpakada
ti yuuli ti lam-ek
kadagiti di pay nabungon
a kaipasngay

dagiti nayaplag a bulong
bayat ti isasangpet
ti ulep a makapurar

dagiti hasmin
kas man la agpakpakawan

iti ima
ti maladaga
nagbukelda a kuentas
ti agsapa

(a loose translation with some nuances substituted as in some verbs, which in Iluko already imply a subject, and nouns that need no adjectives)

stars fell in the dark
among leaves
pining over lost suns–

that light birthed
drowned in the roar of the

a freeze crept,
the newborn

leaves whirled
onto a fractured cloud,
stars splattered, blinding
the lost

jasmine blossoms
as if penitent
shedding their petals

in the palm
of the newborn blossoms
bloomed into a garland for

Copyright (c) 2010 by Alegria Imperial

September 22, 2010 - Posted by | poetry | , ,


  1. Alegria!

    I’ve been meaning to write this comment for a week. Congratulations! You deserve this success and you are an inspiration. I love your poetry because it is so full of imagery. You are like the leaves you write about – never settling on the easy perch, but restlessly searching for a unique expressiveness. And I love that you always return to the simple earth for your associations.

    Again, congratulations. 🙂

    Comment by upinvermont | October 3, 2010 | Reply

    • Dear, dear Patrick,

      What does one say when words take on the power of an updraft that makes one soar?

      Yes, I feel as restless as the leaves in the wind and more like them in fact the way they surrender any which way the wind lifts them up or let them fall. I’m more at ease now with moments of quiescence in the fall, in vacuity; it’s when riddles shape into answers in the deep.

      An editor of an art and culture journal in Manila who read ‘agsapa’ told me that poetry in Iluko, our dialect, embodies the Ilokano soul more than any genre. Poetry is intrinsic in it, he said. Perhaps, this is what drives my restlessness.

      Thank you!!! I say it again though it’s paltry. I do need your honesty, your sagacity, and mostly, your solicitude.


      Comment by Alegria Imperial | October 5, 2010 | Reply

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