Introducing our podcast with Filipino-Australian poet Merlinda Bobis, I mentioned her poem ‘siesta’, an innovative multilingual work. In the podcast, she spoke about her writing in Filipino and English, and the way in which it is mediated by her first language, Bikol. Thanks to Merlinda’s generosity, we are able to reprint her poem ‘siesta’ in this blogpost so that readers can enjoy an example of her multilingual writing.
siesta take me not in mid-winter, only to thaw the frost of your old bones imagining how stallions rear in the outback, hooves raised to this August light, kakaibang liwanag, kasimputla’t kasinglamig ng hubad na peras.* but take me on a humid afternoon made for siesta, when my knees almost ache from daydreaming of mangoes, tree-ripe and just right, at higit sa lahat mas matamis, makatas kaysa sa unang halik ng mansanas.* –––––––––––––––––––––––– *‘alien light, as pale and cold as a naked pear’ plucked from my tongue you have wrapped in a plastic bag with the $3 mango from woolworths while i conjured an orchard from back home — mangoes gold and not for sale, and *‘above all, sweeter, more succulent than the first kiss of the apple.’
From Summer was a Fast Train without Terminals (Spinifex, 1998, 8).