Friday, June 20, 2008

Naming the Trees

(Dumaguete City, May 1995)

Héloïse and Abélard ---
On the boulevard, we baptize
two acacia trees
by pressing our palms
on their ancient boles,
like wizened priests.

Héloïse, with her wimple
of leaves, lifts her branches
wildly to a cruel sky;
her virginity intact, the fruit
of her desire unpicked.

Abélard, in his castrated
glory, hides his shame
beneath the brown habit
of bark; his roots shaken,
his seeds unspread.

Héloïse and Abélard ---
On the boulevard, we name
two trees after the tragic
lovers of Medieval times,
secretly hoping not to repeat
the same sad fate.

- Ralph Semino Galan

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