Yolanda, The Sea and Me

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I have always loved the sea, as can be demonstrated in a poem I wrote in 1999, although this poem has a deeper meaning for me. I was in love with a guy whose name translates to the sea. With or without the guy, I loved the sea. I grew up in a place where you could hear the sound of the waves and smell the sea mist, the sea breeze lulling you to take a siesta. But because of a life changing event, and because of the number of people, of loved ones that the sea took, I decided to stay away from it and from other big bodies of water.

Here is that poem and I am lucky to find an online copy of it, because I lost the notebook where I have written my poems. 

Raindrops bitter on my lips
Falling down with the tears in my eyes
The sea, with waves like outstretched hands are calling 
out to me,
to come and feel it's depth.

The seagulls cry as i run for the sea,
straight into the arms of my forbidden fantasy
to be one with him and forever be free
and feel all the passion i have for the sea...

(A poem I wrote in 1999 and submitted to Starlite Cafe. See it here.)

The crystal clear was so tempting I couldn't resist it, I have to take the first step.

It’s been nine months after Haiyan, and we are still halfway through recovery. Half kneeling-half standing,  but better than we used to be. Yolanda  (local name for Hayian) brought us to our knees, some pushed down deep into their graves. But we are one resilient and strong race, even the strongest typhoon cannot make us lie face down with arms outstretched in surrender. We will continue the fight to pull ourselves up and stand firmly in the ground, and make our mark.

On a personal note, nine months is long enough for me to realize my worth. I am one of those fortunate people who lived to tell the tale. As with the others, I developed a fear of big bodies of water. The sound of thunder and rain on my body still brings a fear all too familiar. But living in fear is something that has become unacceptable to me, because I was left without a choice but to walk the path of unfamiliar territory, I faced my fears so I can finally now relate to the meaning of the word “courage”

August 8,2014 is exactly 9 months after Haiyan. And for the first time after being estranged from the sea, I made peace with her. And I realized just how much I missed the smell of the sea mist and the trickling sensation the foam of the waves felt when it touches my feet. I missed the embrace of the sea when I lay flat on my back and float away just looking at the sky. I am finally at peace with the sea.

Super typhoon Yolanda taught us a lot of lessons and opened our eyes to so many things. I’ve seen the best and worst in humanity after the storm and it made me question the very meaning of our  existence. And the only thing that was certain to make a difference was our capacity to love- to love amid the chaos, to love despite of knowing that the only thing the situation is pushing us to do was to show the worst in us.

And I still believe that people have an extraordinary capacity to love even through a very challenging situation.

Here is a poem I wrote about Yolanda, a name that changed the lives of many.

She cried , and the heavens brought forth torrential tears that covered the earth like a mantle
She wailed and roared, a thunderous boom that pierced and exploded in our breasts,
Drowning the voices of the people , arms outstretched,  reaching for life, gasping for air
Her eye, they were of vengeance , a wrath deserving of an offering to appease the fury
Her skirt,  hem sweeping  away every standing structure in her path, leaving behind a mountain of debris
Her trail, it left an eerie scene of an apocalyptic magnitude that one would never forget
 How can we forget?
Where do we begin?
Those that whom she kissed had fallen into her spell,
To a senseless slumber bringing more misery than joy to the living,
A pain more unbearable than death,   reasons unfathomable.
We are but mere mortals, no match for her Goddess-like strength and intensity.
We succumbed to her wrath, and a chosen few lived to tell of her tale,
A witness to her fury,
To live in torment and in fear
Others will come but not as fierce, as vindictive as she was.
She kissed us…
Some a deep goodnight’s kiss, never to wake up again
Yolanda, she was.- a name we will never forget.

Keeping the faith,


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