Depths of Field
I walk some hundred paces from the old house
Where I was raised, where many are absent now,
and the rice fields sweep into view: here where
during home leaves I’m drawn to watch on evenings
such as this, when the moon is fat and much given
to the free spending of its rich cache of light
which transmutes all things: it changes me now,
like someone resorted to the newness of his life.
Note the wind’s shuffle in the crown of tall coconut
trees; the broad patches of moon-flecked water —
freshly-rowed with seedlings; the grass huts of
croppers, windows framed by the flicker of kerosene
lamps: an unearthly calm pervades all that is seen.
Beauty unreserved holds down a country’s suffering.
Disclosed in this high-pitched hour: a long-held
secret displaced by ambition and need, a country
boy’s pained enchantment with his hometown lands
that remains intact in a lifetime of wanderings.
As I look again, embraced by the depths of an old
loneliness, I’m permanently returned to this world.
to the meanings it has saved for me. If I die now,
in the grasp of childhood fields, I’ll miss nothing.
Luis Cabalquinto was born in the Philippines and came to the United States in 1968. He is the recipient of a poetry prize from the Academy of American Poets and a fellowship from The New York Foundation for the Arts, among others.