Islander in the City | Pablo A. Tariman:


(For Monsignor Ping Molina, Tony Zantua, Gregorio Sarmiento, Sr. Beda Camacho, Grace Sarmiento Gabao, Pablo de Leon, Pedro Rojas, Jesus Torrente** & especially to Architect J. Romano)


Classical guitarist Aaron Aguila by the sea at Batag Beach, Virac, Catanduanes. Photo: Floyd Evangelista Flores

There was a time

I could look at the sea

And be happy hearing the sea waves

String together

Melodies of nature

Along the shore.



But when you hear Bach

Mozart and Tarrega

Along with the undulating waves

You feel your pulse stop

You thought you heard a gasp

In your soul

Caressed by sea wind

Transported to another time

And place.


I suppose

This is how is how you say goodbye

To the island of your birth.


You recall the mountain range

You climbed


Picture the streams

Where once live shrimps

Jump from slimy stones.


You retrace

The coastal village

Where you were born


Retrace the footpath

Of your youth

As you emerge

Naked in the river

Of your past.


You recall passion

In naked bodies

And sketch them

When a simple touch

Was forbidden.


I suppose

This is the magic

Of music

When the sound of waves

Intertwine with the plucked strings

Of Tarrega

And they transport you

To the rarely seen landscape

Of Alhambra.


You play with memories

As you make do

With familiar shadows

Of your past.


It is a miracle

The sound of waves

Blend well with the rustic music

Of your bygone years.


I imagine concert

By the sea

At sunset.


I imagine intimate audience

In the seaside veranda

A quiet audience rapt in music


You remember the islanders

Who have gone to the stars

And with whom you shared your music.


You remember the quiet moments

You could hear a pin drop

As islanders listened

To Tarrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra.


Then you contemplate

The years

That will never come back


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