Narrative Essay Written By Filipino Authors Of Poems

Lyric poetry abounds in Shakespeare’ssonnets. Lyric poetry is one of three genres of poetry; the other two are dramatic and narrative. 

Sonnets as Lyric Poetry

The word “lyric” comes from the Latin “lyricus" meaning “of or for the lyre.” Some of the best examples of lyric poetry come from Italian and English sonnets. In lyric poetry, the mood is musical and emotional. The writer of a lyric poem uses words that express his state of mind, his perceptions, or his feelings.   

Some of the best examples of lyric poetry are sonnets.

James DeFord

Italian Sonnet by James DeFord, written in 1997:

Turn back the heart you've turned away
Give back your kissing breath
Leave not my love as you have left
The broken hearts of yesterday
But wait, be still, don't lose this way
Affection now, for what you guess
May be something more, could be less
Accept my love, live for today.

William Shakespeare

Another good example is this part of Sonnet Number 18, written by William Shakespeare:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed.

Many lyric poems are about love, but they can be about anything which stirs the emotions.

Emily Dickinson

This example of lyric poetry is a poem by Emily Dickinson named I Felt a Funeral in my Brain. It describes a person who is going insane, or thinks they are:

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading - treading - till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through -
And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a
Drum -Kept beating - beating - till I thought
My Mind was going numb - 
And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space - began to toll,
As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange
Race Wrecked, solitary, here -
And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down -
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing - then -

Dramatic Poetry

Dramatic poetry is written in verse and is meant to be spoken. Its main purpose is to tell a story or describe an event in an interesting and descriptive way.

Rudyard Kipling

Here is an example from Rudyard Kipling’s The Law of the Jungle which is addressed to a wolf:

Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.
The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter -- go forth and get food of thine own.
Keep peace with the Lords of the Jungle -- the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.
And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair.
When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken -- it may be fair words shall prevail.

Robert Browning

The Laboratory by Robert Browning is another example of a dramatic poem:

NOW that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,

May gaze thro' these faint smokes curling whitely,

As thou pliest thy trade in this devil's-smithy--

Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?

II
He is with her; and they know that I know

Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow

While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear

Empty church, to pray God in, for them! -- I am here.
III
Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,

Pound at thy powder, -- I am not in haste!

Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things,

Than go where men wait me and dance at the King's.
IV
That in the mortar -- you call it a gum?

Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!

And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,

Sure to taste sweetly, -- is that poison too?

Narrative Poetry

Narrative poems include ballads and epics, and tell of societies and heroic deeds. They can also be very dramatic when telling of a particular situation.

Edgar Allan Poe

Following is an excerpt from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.''
Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, is a classic example of narrative poetry.

There are several different sections or books of the Canterbury Tales. Book I is known as The Knight's Tale and an excerpt from this section provides a further illustration of narrative poetry:

In days of old there lived, of mighty fame,

A valiant Prince, and Theseus was his name;

A chief, who more in feats of arms excelled,

The rising nor the setting sun beheld.

Of Athens he was lord; much land he won,

And added foreign countries to his crown.

In Scythia with the warrior Queen he strove,

Whom first by force he conquered, then by love;

He brought in triumph back the beauteous dame,

With whom her sister, fair Emilia, came.

With honour to his home let Theseus ride,

With Love to friend, and Fortune for his guide,

And his victorious army at his side.

I pass their warlike pomp, their proud array,

Their shouts, their songs, their welcome on the way;

But, were it not too long, I would recite

The feats of Amazons, the fatal fight

Betwixt the hardy Queen and hero Knight;

The town besieged, and how much blood it cost

The female army, and the Athenian host;

The spousals of Hippolyta the Queen;

What tilts and turneys at the feast were seen;

The storm at their return, the ladies' fear:

But these and other things I must forbear.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is another example of a lyric poem.

Written in 1966, the poem contains many different chapters.  Chapter 11, for example, covers Hiwatha's Wedding-Feast.

An excerpt from this chapter tells the story of the wedding, including a special dance:

First he danced a solemn measure,

Very slow in step and gesture,

In and out among the pine-trees,

Through the shadows and the sunshine,

Treading softly like a panther.

Then more swiftly and still swifter,

Whirling, spinning round in circles,

Leaping o'er the guests assembled,

Eddying round and round the wigwam,

Till the leaves went whirling with him,

Till the dust and wind together

Swept in eddies round about him.

 

Then along the sandy margin

Of the lake, the Big-Sea-Water,

On he sped with frenzied gestures,

Stamped upon the sand, and tossed it

Wildly in the air around him;

Till the wind became a whirlwind,

Till the sand was blown and sifted

Like great snowdrifts o'er the landscape,

Heaping all the shores with Sand Dunes,

Sand Hills of the Nagow Wudjoo!


Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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Examples of Lyric Poetry

By YourDictionary

Lyric poetry abounds in Shakespeare’s sonnets. Lyric poetry is one of three genres of poetry; the other two are dramatic and narrative. 

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DR. LILIA QUINDOZA-SANTIAGO

       Philippine literary production during the American Period in the Philippines was spurred by two significant developments in education and culture. One is the introduction of free public instruction for all children of school age and two, the use of English as medium of instruction in all levels of education in public schools.

        Free public education made knowledge and information accessible to a greater number of Filipinos. Those who availed of this education through college were able to improve their social status and joined a good number of educated masses who became part of the country’s middle class.

        The use of English as medium of instruction introduced Filipinos to Anglo-American modes of thought, culture and life ways that would be embedded not only in the literature produced but also in the psyche of the country’s educated class. It was this educated class that would be the wellspring of a vibrant Philippine Literature in English.

        Philippine literature in English, as a direct result of American colonization of the country, could not escape being imitative of American models of writing especially during its period of apprenticeship. The poetry written by early poets manifested studied attempts at versification as in the following poem which is proof of the poet’s rather elementary exercise in the English language:

Vacation days at last are here,
And we have time for fun so dear,
All boys and girls do gladly cheer,
This welcomed season of the year.
In early June in school we’ll meet;
A harder task shall we complete
And if we fail we must repeat
That self same task without retreat.
We simply rest to come again
To school where boys and girls obtain
The Creator’s gift to men
Whose sanguine hopes in us remain.
Vacation means a time for play
For young and old in night and day
My wish for all is to be gay,
And evil none lead you astray

                        – Juan F. Salazar   

Philippines Free Press, May 9, 1909

        The poem was anthologized in the first collection of poetry in English, Filipino Poetry, edited by Rodolfo Dato (1909 – 1924). Among the poets featured in this anthology were Proceso Sebastian Maximo Kalaw, Fernando Maramag, Leopoldo Uichanco, Jose Ledesma, Vicente Callao, Santiago Sevilla, Bernardo Garcia, Francisco Africa, Pablo Anzures, Carlos P. Romulo, Francisco Tonogbanua, Juan Pastrana, Maria Agoncillo, Paz Marquez Benitez, Luis Dato and many others. Another anthology, The English GermanAnthology of Poetsedited by Pablo Laslo was published and covered poets published from 1924-1934 among whom were Teofilo D. Agcaoili, Aurelio Alvero, Horacio de la Costa, Amador T. Daguio, Salvador P. Lopez, Angela Manalang Gloria, Trinidad Tarrosa, Abelardo Subido and Jose Garcia Villa, among others. A third pre-war collection of poetry was edited by Carlos Bulosan, Chorus for America: Six Philippine Poets. The six poets in this collection were Jose Garcia Villa, Rafael Zulueta da Costa, Rodrigo T. Feria, C.B. Rigor, Cecilio Baroga and Carlos Bulosan.

        In fiction, the period of apprenticeship in literary writing in English is marked by imitation of the style of storytelling and strict adherence to the craft of the short story as practiced by popular American fictionists. Early short story writers in English were often dubbed as the Andersons or Saroyans or the Hemingways of Philippine letters. Leopoldo Yabes in his study of the Philippine short story in English from 1925 to 1955 points to these models of American fiction exerting profound influence on the early writings of story writers like Francisco Arcellana, A.E. Litiatco, Paz Latorena. .

        When the University of the Philippines was founded in 1908, an elite group of writers in English began to exert influence among the culturati. The U.P. Writers Club founded in 1926, had stated that one of its aims was to enhance and propagate the “language of Shakespeare.” In 1925, Paz Marquez Benitez short story, “Dead Stars” was published and was made the landmark of the maturity of the Filipino writer in English. Soon after Benitez, short story writers began publishing stories no longer imitative of American models. Thus, story writers like Icasiano Calalang, A.E. Litiatco, Arturo Rotor, Lydia Villanueva, Paz Latorena , Manuel Arguilla began publishing stories manifesting both skilled use of the language and a keen Filipino sensibility.

        This combination of writing in a borrowed tongue while dwelling on Filipino customs and traditions earmarked the literary output of major Filipino fictionists in English during the American period. Thus, the major novels of the period, such as the Filipino Rebel, by Maximo Kalaw, and His Native Soil by Juan C. Laya, are discourses on cultural identity, nationhood and being Filipino done in the English language. Stories such as “How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife” by Manuel Arguilla scanned the scenery as well as the folkways of Ilocandia while N.V. M. Gonzales’s novels and stories such as “Children of the Ash Covered Loam,” present the panorama of Mindoro, in all its customs and traditions while configuring its characters in the human dilemma of nostalgia and poverty. Apart from Arguilla and Gonzales, noted fictionists during the period included Francisco Arcellana, whom Jose Garcia Villa lauded as a “genius” storyteller, Consorcio Borje, Aida Rivera, Conrado Pedroche, Amador Daguio, Sinai Hamada, Hernando Ocampo, Fernando Maria Guerrero. Jose Garcia Villa himself wrote several short stories but devoted most of his time to poetry.

        In 1936, when the Philippine Writers League was organized, Filipino writers in English began discussing the value of literature in society. Initiated and led by Salvador P. Lopez, whose essays on Literature and Societyprovoked debates, the discussion centered on proletarian literature, i.e., engaged or committed literature versus the art for art’s sake literary orientation. But this discussion curiously left out the issue of colonialism and colonial literature and the whole place of literary writing in English under a colonial set-up that was the Philippines then.

        With Salvador P. Lopez, the essay in English gained the upper hand in day to day discourse on politics and governance. Polemicists who used to write in Spanish like Claro M. Recto, slowly started using English in the discussion of current events even as newspaper dailies moved away from Spanish reporting into English. Among the essayists, Federico Mangahas had an easy facility with the language and the essay as genre. Other noted essayists during the period were Fernando Maramag, Carlos P. Romulo , Conrado Ramirez.

        On the other hand, the flowering of a vibrant literary tradition due to historical events did not altogether hamper literary production in the native or indigenous languages. In fact, the early period of the 20th century was remarkable for the significant literary output of all major languages in the various literary genre.

        It was during the early American period that seditious plays, using the form of the zarsuwela, were mounted. Zarsuwelistas Juan Abad, Aurelio Tolentino ,Juan Matapang Cruz. Juan Crisostomo Sotto mounted the classics like Tanikalang Ginto, Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas and Hindi Ako Patay, all directed against the American imperialists. Patricio Mariano’s Anak ng Dagat and Severino Reyes’s Walang Sugat are equally remarkable zarsuwelas staged during the period.

        On the eve of World War II, Wilfredo Maria Guerrero would gain dominance in theatre through his one-act plays which he toured through his “mobile theatre”. Thus, Wanted a Chaperone and The Forsaken Housebecame very popular in campuses throughout the archipelago.

        The novel in Tagalog, Iloko, Hiligaynon and Sugbuanon also developed during the period aided largely by the steady publication of weekly magazines like the Liwayway, Bannawag and Bisaya which serialized the novels.

        Among the early Tagalog novelists of the 20th century were Ishmael Amado, Valeriano Hernandez Peña, Faustino Aguilar, Lope K. Santos and Lazaro Francisco.

        Ishmael Amado’s Bulalakaw ng Pag-asa published in 1909 was one of the earliest novels that dealt with the theme of American imperialism in the Philippines. The novel, however, was not released from the printing press until 1916, at which time, the author, by his own admission and after having been sent as a pensionado to the U.S., had other ideas apart from those he wrote in the novel.

        Valeriano Hernandez Peña’s Nena at Neneng narrates the story of two women who happened to be best of friends as they cope with their relationships with the men in their lives. Nena succeeds in her married life while Neneng suffers from a stormy marriage because of her jealous husband.

        Faustino Aguilar published Pinaglahuan, a love triangle set in the early years of the century when the worker’s movement was being formed. The novel’s hero, Luis Gatbuhay, is a worker in a printery who isimprisoned for a false accusation and loses his love, Danding, to his rival Rojalde, son of a wealthy capitalist. Lope K. Santos, Banaag at Sikat has almost the same theme and motif as the hero of the novel, Delfin, also falls in love with a rich woman, daughter of a wealthy landlord. The love story of course is set also within the background of development of the worker’s trade union movement and throughout the novel, Santos engages the readers in lengthy treatises and discourses on socialism and capitalism. Many other Tagalog novelists wrote on variations of the same theme, i.e., the interplay of fate, love and social justice. Among these writers are Inigo Ed Regalado, Roman Reyes, Fausto J. Galauran, Susana de Guzman, Rosario de Guzman-Lingat, Lazaro Francisco, Hilaria Labog, Rosalia Aguinaldo, Amado V. Hernandez. Many of these writers were able to produce three or more novels as Soledad Reyes would bear out in her book which is the result of her dissertation, Ang Nobelang Tagalog (1979).

        Among the Iloko writers, noted novelists were Leon Pichay, who was also the region’s poet laureate then, Hermogenes Belen, and Mena Pecson Crisologo whose Mining wenno Ayat ti Kararwa is considered to be the Iloko version of a Noli me Tangere.

        In the Visayas, Magdalena Jalandoni and Ramon Muzones would lead most writers in writing the novels that dwelt on the themes of love, courtship, life in the farmlands, and other social upheavals of the period. Marcel Navarra wrote stories and novels in Sugbuhanon.

        Poetry in all languages continued to flourish in all regions of the country during the American period. The Tagalogs, hailing Francisco F. Balagtas as the nation’s foremost poet invented the balagtasan in his honor. Thebalagtasan is a debate in verse, a poetical joust done almost spontaneously between protagonists who debate over the pros and cons of an issue.

        The first balagtasan was held in March 1924 at the Instituto de Mujeres, with Jose Corazon de Jesus and Florentino Collantes as rivals, bubuyog (bee) and paru-paro (butterfly) aiming for the love of kampupot (jasmine). It was during this balagtasan that Jose Corazon de Jesus, known as Huseng Batute, emerged triumphant to become the first king of the Balagtasan. Jose Corazon de Jesus was the finest master of the genre. He was later followed by balagtasistas, Emilio Mar Antonio and Crescenciano Marquez, who also became King of the Balagtasan in their own time.

        As Huseng Batute, de Jesus also produced the finest poems and lyrics during the period. His debates with Amado V. Hernandez on the political issue of independence from America and nationhood were mostly done in verse and are testament to the vitality of Tagalog poetry during the era. Lope K. Santos, epic poem, Ang Panggingera is also proof of how poets of the period have come to master the language to be able to translate it into effective poetry.

        The balagtasan would be echoed as a poetical fiesta and would be duplicated in the Ilocos as thebukanegan, in honor of Pedro Bukaneg, the supposed transcriber of the epic, Biag ni Lam-ang; and theCrissottan, in Pampanga, in honor of the esteemed poet of the Pampango, Juan Crisostomo Sotto.

        In 1932, Alejandro G. Abadilla , armed with new criticism and an orientation on modernist poetry would taunt traditional Tagalog poetics with the publication of his poem, “Ako ang Daigdig.” Abadilla’s poetry began the era of modernism in Tagalog poetry, a departure from the traditional rhymed, measured and orally recited poems. Modernist poetry which utilized free or blank verses was intended more for silent reading than oral delivery.

        Noted poets in Tagalog during the American period were Julian Cruz Balmaceda, Florentino Collantes, Pedro Gatmaitan, Jose Corazon de Jesus, Benigno Ramos, Inigo Ed. Regalado, Ildefonso Santos, Lope K. Santos, Aniceto Silvestre, Emilio Mar. Antonio , Alejandro Abadilla and Teodoro Agoncillo.

        Like the writers in English who formed themselves into organizations, Tagalog writers also formed the Ilaw at Panitik, and held discussions and workshops on the value of literature in society. Benigno Ramos, was one of the most politicized poets of the period as he aligned himself with the peasants of the Sakdal Movement.

        Fiction in Tagalog as well as in the other languages of the regions developed alongside the novel. Most fictionists are also novelists. Brigido Batungbakal , Macario Pineda and other writers chose to dwell on the vicissitudes of life in a changing rural landscape. Deogracias Del Rosario on the other hand, chose the city and the emerging social elite as subjects of his stories. He is considered the father of the modern short story in Tagalog

        Among the more popular fictionists who emerged during the period are two women writers, Liwayway Arceo and Genoveva Edroza Matute, considered forerunners in the use of “light” fiction, a kind of story telling that uses language through poignant rendition. Genoveva Edroza Matute’s “Ako’y Isang Tinig” and Liwayway Arceo’s “Uhaw angTigang na Lupa” have been used as models of fine writing in Filipino by teachers of composition throughout the school system.

        Teodoro Agoncillo’s anthology 25 Pinakamahusay na Maiikling Kuwento (1945) included the foremost writers of fiction in the pre-war era.

        The separate, yet parallel developments of Philippine literature in English and those in Tagalog and other languages of the archipelago during the American period only prove that literature and writing in whatever language and in whatever climate are able to survive mainly through the active imagination of writers. Apparently, what was lacking during the period was for the writers in the various languages to come together, share experiences and come to a conclusion on the elements that constitute good writing in the Philippines.

About the Author:
Lilia Quindoza-Santiago is the author behind “Kagampanan at Iba Pang Tula” and “Ang Manggagamot ng Salay-Salay” (a collection of stories). She was named Makata ng Taon (1989) in the annual Talaang Ginto of the Surian ng Wikang Pambansa for her work “Sa Ngalan ng Ina, ng Anak, ng Diwata’t Paraluman”. She teaches Philippine Literature at the University of the Philippines.
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