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(After Still Life With a Violin and Flowers by Onib Olmedo)

Makakapangungusap ba ang walang imik,

Magkatabi, halos magkadikit

Halos humihilig ang dibdib sa dibdib

Daiti ng hininga’y naririnig, di naririnig.

​Hindi iyon taghoy ng pangingimi.

​Hindi pag-aaksaya ng sandali.

​Hindi paghinto o pananatili.

​Walang tinutubos o dinadakip

​Walang mga itinatali.​ 


Nalalaman ng magsing-irog ang kapalaran.

​Hitik sa asul at pula ang paligid.​

May unang yuyukod, titikhim, aawit.

​Lahat ng mata ay magtatakip.​

Sa isang pook, marahil may ilaw,

​May mesa, nakatalikod na upuan.

Ngayo’y inabandonang luklukang

​Nahirati sa masigabong palakpakan.

​Sasaliw sa nanunuot na katahimikan

​Ang kariktan ng salaysay ng pagtangis.


​Nalalaman ng magsing-irog ang kapalaran.

​Tuloy-tuloy ang halimuyak ng oras.

​Daratnan ng bungkos ang paa ng umiibig.

Siyang sinusuyo’y naging mangingibig.

​Paglagpak na paglagpak sa sahig.


​Kay-ikli, di nauulit ang mga pagsasanib.​

Ganito nagsisimula ang daigdig.








Can the tight-lipped speak,

Alongside, almost brushing each other's skin,

Breast almost leaning onto breast,

Hearing, not hearing the touch of each other's


That is not the timid's cry.

Not the wasting of a minute.

Not the halt or staying.

No one is saved or ransomed.

No one is being tied up.

Lovers know their fate.

Everywhere is thick with blue and red.

Someone will take a bow, clear the throat, sing.

All will cover their eyes.

On a certain spot, perhaps under the lights,

A table, a chair  on its back.

Now an abandoned stage

Used to receiving loud applause.

The lovely narrative of grief

Blends with the bone-piercing silence.

Lovers know their fate.

On and on goes the fragrance of the hours.

The bouquet will find the feet of the lover.

Face flat on the floor, the beloved one

Becomes the lover.

Possessions are brief and unrepeatable.

This is how the world begins.






by Rebecca T. Añonuevo

Still Life With a Violin and Flowers

by Onib Olmedo


Oil Pastel on Felt


Not for sale


by Rebecca T. Añonuevo


Onib Olmedo (1937-1996) is acclaimed by critics as a major Filipino artist of the 20th century.  Olmedo garnered all the major local awards during his lifetime, including those given by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Art Association of the Philippines, Mobil Oil Philippines, and the Manila city government.  He likewise placed the Philippines in the world map with his paintings which gained recognition in the international scene. He won an award at the prestigious competition in Cagnes Sur Mer, France – the very first Filipino to be accorded such a distinction. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Olmedo reached the apex of his career.  His impact on the art scene continues to be felt to this day, as evidenced by a whole new generation of artists who are self-confessed Olmedo disciples, producing works inspired by their icon’s distinctive style.

Rebecca T. Añonuevo is a poet, translator, essayist, and critic. She teaches literature and writing subjects in Miriam College , where she is also chair of the Department of Filipino, and in the University of Santo Tomas. She is the author of six books of poetry (the latest being Isa Lang ang Pangalan, published in 2012 by the UST Publishing House), and has received numerous awards from the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for poetry, essay, and short story in Filipino. She has a PhD in Literature from the De La Salle University, which granted her the Gold Medal  for Outstanding Dissertation for her study that later became a book titled, Talinghaga ng Gana: Ang Banal sa mga Piling Tulang Tagalog ng Ika-20 Siglo, which  won the National Book Award for Literary Criticism from the Manila Critics Circle. She has also written children’s books. She gives teacher trainings on skills upgrading and is a constant panelist in writing workshops in the country.​​​​

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