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

dawn, a bilingual poem in English and Iluko for One Shot Wednesday (re-post)

In the spirit of first anniversaries that One Shot Wednesday is celebrating, I wish 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, my first ever in the dialect, in Bannawag, a vernacular magazine of the Ilocanos in northern Philippines I read as a child.

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 as in this poem has allowed me bouts of sheer joy. I seem to be writing through this ‘duality’ since then–the borrowed cultures or cultures that impinged on my birth or even in my mother’s womb. And my anguish has lessened since I acknowledged who I am and of what I’m woven.

(as featured poem in Newsletter, Spring 2010, a loose translation in English by the author 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

(Iluko version as edited and published in Bannawag, the Ilocano vernacular magazine of the Ilocos region in northern Philippines, May 16, 2009)


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

Copyright (c) 2010 by Alegria Imperial

Re-post from 9/22/2010 for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry, the inimtable gathering place for poets and artists that celebrates its First Anniversary today (tomorrow?) Wednesday! I joined in only halfway in November last year after I stumbled on it in patteran’s page. It’s been a blast to get to know the most amazing, the most talented, and gifted poets and artists here. Check us out!


June 29, 2011 - Posted by | lyric poetry, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. you know i would love to hear it read in your native dialect…this is beautiful and it is no surprise you have recieved accolades for it…the opening stanza is strong the second with punch…and some lovely imagery through out…well played…

    Comment by brian | June 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you, Brian! I do have a recording of both poems but can’t upload it here because I need to upgrade and I haven’t done that. I’ll try to do it on my facebook page and send you a link. But thanks so much, again!

      Comment by alee9 | June 29, 2011 | Reply

  2. Another nice piece, love the subtle yet great imagery you play with during the entire write.

    Comment by Pat Hatt | June 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Oh Pat, another word
      another tune from you
      and yet again I feel a bird
      has me on wings it flew
      beyond my eyes the sky
      goes high higher than the climb
      no stairs on air do fly
      like minds sublime
      can lift can fly can reach
      the heart that’s all the sky
      and so thanks richly
      so much I wish there were

      such other words

      Comment by alee9 | June 30, 2011 | Reply

  3. The beauty transcends language I believe
    I would also love to hear this spoken

    Thanks for your weekly support of One Shot Poetry

    Comment by moondustwriter | June 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Oh, Leslie, I feel so honored and so deeply touched by your hugs! You’ve all been so great here at OSP! Truly, my poetry has found its spring and it hasn’t stopped flowing to overflowing since. Like I told Brian, I’ll try to post my audio on facebook and send the link. Thanks, again!

      Comment by alee9 | June 30, 2011 | Reply

  4. I agree with Brian, hearing this spoken in your native tongue would be fascinating, but just reading it is an experience in itself. Fine writing, as always Alegria–such a pleasure to come here and read your always original, always lyrical work.

    Comment by hedgewitch | June 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Your words never fail to reassure me, Joy! Like rain in a sandstorm or an oasis to end end my mirage that’s what your visits and your read then your generous comments do to my wiriting. I never really believed one’s poetry can be cultivated if like mine it was a dying seed but indeed it’s been revived to full vigor to budding. Thank you as words, I say it again, can never be enough.

      Comment by alee9 | June 30, 2011 | Reply

  5. Fabulous, and relearning the mother tongue, as it were, will only enrich your song. The first image in the poem is as fine and beautiful as any in the English language:

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

    beautiful, Ali! You are a fine, fine poet and should be immensely proud of your work! xxxj

    Comment by Jenne' Rodey Andrews | June 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Dear Jenne, to be called fine by a poet honored by the greats, I call it an award! Thank you for loving my poem that must have been enriched from the images of the original in my mother tongue! I’ll keep your word and begin to look with pride at my poetry from hereon!

      Comment by alee9 | June 30, 2011 | Reply

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