Speak O Risen Word
Your light everlasting
In darkness of the heart
And let Spirit rule the deeps
Of restless waters of soul
That new earth may rise –
An eden of holiness
Where you are seen and declared
Made flesh glorious
Extravagant and good
IN HOLY WEEK
His prayer abides
That we be gentleness of his ways
Of his hands breaking bread
Pouring wine of health and cheer
Gentleness of his silence
Of self-surrender to the Father
Wordless in Spirit that contains all
After words made pain in questions
Gentleness of his Light
Melting resistance of rock and wood
Dispelling doubts of faith
Dissolving nights of the heart
To appear in gardens of our lives
As radiance of the way it is
That we be for one another
In remembrance of him
(Philippine Graphic, April 24, 2000)
Be always the Risen Lord.
The proof of his resurrection
Is not the empty tomb
But his living presence
Discovered in holy places:
Of order, seemliness & beauty,
Of person & community,
Of fellowship & celebration,
Where fears and doubts
& faith holds the center;
Like lake shores
Where fish & bread
Are enjoyed by friends.
The proof lies in experience
Of his touch
Of finger & spirit
Of his words burning in hearts
Of people on the road.
He emerges all Man all God
In dazzling light,
No longer from the tomb,
But from the brokenness of bread
In the people’s struggle for
Justice of his favor.
Between hosannas of earth and glories of heaven
Above shattered power of Sanhedrin and State
Above tribal loves and laws of the heart
So it is: his cross our cross lifted high/
Shared bread and wine/ body and blood/
Life and death/ God Man Woman in elevation
So it is: through palm fronds and olive branches
Via dolorosa memorial parks and paschal fiestas
From little Bethlehem to new Jerusalem
Genesis to Apocalypse of our lives redeemed
Mystery of Light to Light Face to Face
At once joyful sorrowful lightful glorious
So it is: because of him because of us
All Life is risen, good and triumphant all the way
(Philippine Graphic July 19, 2004}
Francisco R. Albano served Mass at our Las Pinas City home before we left for Canada, before he left to fight for the people, God's children; he is a poet, priest, and warrior of the Risen Christ in the purest sense of the word -- he will fight for His battles wherever injustice against His children rears it ugly head.
Paco, now a seminary rector in the Northern Phiippines province of Isabela at Cauayan, draws deeply from the wellsprings of his spirituality to continue writing poetry. The poems above are part of the poetry exchange that we maintain despite the annoying onslaught of ageing and all the aches and discomfiture it brings. His poems, while writing in another clime, another life, when he pursued the "radical end of God's care for his children", have been included in Dr. Gemino H. Abad's A Habit of Shores: Filipino Poetry and Verse in English from 60's to the 90's.
A former professor of English and Literature and chairman of the San Beda College (Mendiola) Department of English in the 60's, Rev. Fr. Albano is a patron of the arts in the tradition of holy men who nurtured the talents of artists wherever they found them.
He was the Publications Director of San Beda College when he published my first collection of poems Narra Poems and Others (1968) under the patronage of Nikki Coseteng, the editor and publisher of the prestigious San Beda Review that published the first part draft of Cirilo F. Bautista's The Archipelago and subsequently published the whole book (with blazing red cover) as a project of this literary editor and Fr. Albano's. Bautista's book won the Palanca Literary Contest poetry award that year.
He has continued collecting his poems, and should one day get them to follow his 1987 Clearing, and his 1994 Rituals forAnna. I am excited about his longer Easter poems published in the Philippines Graphic and the Sierra Madre Poems he sent me last year. I should find good space for these and his "love poems" in Rituals (some of the best I have read) as we run this blog.
His is poetry that must be read. One would be poorer without the unique experience.