Kaingin is upland farming requiring a portion of the forest to be cleared for planting; also known as slash and burn farming.

 

Everything turns sacred early morning

When dark forest cleaves to brightening sky.

We turn our faces towards the east,

Offer a prayer to all beings enchanted

As the sun mounts the ancient ridge,

Our bodies tense with thanksgiving.

Neighbors from open spaces have arrived

To help us harvest the fragrant rice

We dearly keep for our own families,

To celebrate the return of migrant birds,

The safe distance we keep from the plains

Where landlords impose their claims.

We trust the blade of our sickles will sing

Always in tall grass, sharpen at the crack of lightning.

Today we thresh our indebtedness from blessed rain,

Winnow uncertainties from the grain.

The salt of our sweat fertilize the earth

Where we have felled the trees

After ritual blood from a rooster has been spilled;

We slashed and burned to clear a pocket of wilderness.

Where root crops and vegetables are located

We buried the broken half of my wife’s comb

So the leaves will flourish like her wonderful hair.

Where maize and mountain rice are growing

We embedded a sewing needle so the seedlings

Will grow straight, strong as monsoon.

Tonight my tired guitar will serenade the moon,

Inspire lovers to elope, exchange life-long vows

As they stand in the shallows of flowing stream.

We recollect each day gazing at evening sky,

Ease pain with quiet flame and fold to sleep

Using a humble blanket of woven stars.

There’s ample time to repair whatever despair,

Fix our imperfect dwelling with irresistible laughter.

 

Kaingin

by Victor Peñaranda

(After Kaingin by Nemiranda)

Kaingin

by Nemiranda

 (Nemi R. Miranda, Jr.)

 

1973

 

Oil on Canvas

 

 36 inches x 48 inches