Prints and Traces

By DON J. PAGUSARA

Today, we commemorate the World Teachers’ Day. It is only fitting and just that we reflect on the nobility of the teaching profession.  Often we ignore the value of the worthy values they have bequeathed to the youth–to the children of the race and nation. Often we belittle their priceless contribution to the building of the nation which are foundation stones of social architecting.  But here they are — the forgotten heroes, enduring the pains, the frustrations, all the disparaging words and acts, on the thorny paths of mentoring.   Here they are, there they are — dutiful and consistent to uphold the nobleness of their task and profession.  We salute them…we laud them! Not only on this day, but forever!

TRIBUTE TO THE MENTORS OF THE RACE

Madam. . .! Sir…!  Mentor. . .!  Teacher. . .!
You are the special chef who prepares the food!
Each day, your body sways with the load you carry
for the naked creatures reaching up for the stars —
their eyes glistening, their hearts  flaming with the
vehemence of their dreams  — tiptoeing . . .yearning
for what you have specially cooked for them.

Sir. . .!  Madam. . .!  Mentor. . .!  Teacher. . .!
You who have chosen to be the one who delivers!
Load in arms, you race against time, panting!… and
the road ahead stretches long and far, laden with strivings
and sacrifices.  But in your heart throbs a song — your solemn vow to share the victuals from the fruits of your labor.

Madam. . .! Sir. . .! Mentor. . .!  Teacher. . .!
You who flavor the air with happy tidings!
The hollow in your throat has dried up, and  your
voice has  hoarsened!  Drops of sweat profusely flow
and roll, not on the smooth of  your skin, but  on the folds
in your soul.. . in your soul that tensely supplicates
for strength, vigor and vitality  to climb the uphill road,
in obeisance  to the mandate of your profession.

Sir. . .  Madam. . .!  Mentor . . .!  Teacher. . .!
You who shape the minds and form values of our youth!
You have sculpted with your words their dreams and
aspirations!  In the silence of your nights and in all the spaces of your time, you dutifully carve the model of their dreams;
and by your own dreams and  zeal,  you scribble on their brows
vis-à-vis the dirty scratches of evil,  the patterns of righteousness. Art soon blooms splendid in beauty and in truth.

Madam. . .!  Sir. . .!  Mentor. . .!  Teacher . . .!
You who mirror the countenance of the Loving Mother!
You who soothe with your balsam smile the rebellious mind,   touch with music words all wayward and indecent thought.
You have gently offered honeyed toasts of patriotic love
to hearts that have long thirsted for  noble causes and ideals!
You have sheltered beneath your roof weary travellers
overtaken by night in their quest for  justice and liberty!

Sir . . .!  Madam . . .!  Mentor . . .!  Teacher. . .!
You are the true child of Gabriela and Tandang Sora!
It is most fitting we exult the music of your name!
You have inherited the mind and heart of Gat Jose Rizal!
The dangle of your words is a melodious love and care for
the Youth who are the Hopes of the Motherland!– For you
nothing is more heavenly than the future of the Race,
nothing is sweeter than the embrace of a lofty ideal!

But Madam. . .!  Sir . . .!  Beware!  Be ever on guard!
For there among your own people are charlatans!
In the ranks of your own tribe are scalawags who conspire
to steal the dreams that you carry for the naked ones!
Along your paths are robbers waiting in the dark byways!
Shadows of misfortune lounging in comforts and pleasure
in the honorable halls and chambers of the Bureaucracy!
Wanting to trample the dream’s future on the mire of shame.

Sir. . .! Madam. . .! Behold!   Instill in your memory
the noisome  sound of their names!  They have long enjoyed
the victuals that should have been yours and the naked souls –they who have long longed for the stars of  their tomorrows!
But these blessed and honorable ones in halls of Congress and
corridors of Power are wallowing  in the pleasures of palatable pork ! They–, the maharlikas  entrusted with the custody and safeguard of our wealth. Behold the porky folds of their tummies!

Madam. .!  Sir…! You who take the stance of Gabriela Silang!
Who have inherited the sharp and mighty quill of Gat Jose Rizal !
You whose words are like roof shingles that shelter the worthy
Sons and Daughters of the Katipunan!  Go chase and grab
the golden rays of the Sun!   Go! Go! In quest of the lofty Ideal
on the Altar of Struggle!  Smite to smithereens the Crocodiles who have constantly devoured the wealth of our  nation — whose faces are thick layers of  fat  and callous folds of shamelessness!

Sir. . .!  Madam. . .!  Hear!  For I shall sing to you the tale
of someone who, like you,  has trod the rough road of history,
carrying the food and drinks for them–them who reach up for
their dream of the future. . . but. . .but  . . .whose precious
days  have been snatched away by the Scoundrels in Power. . .!
His name is Jun Germo,

What did Jun Germo teach

His students
whose thirst have not
been quenched?

He taught them how
to find drinks
when all patience  has
been dried up,
where to look for
a spring  when there is drought
of ideals and causes.

But before
they have dug up deep
something spurts .

Now what they constantly
drink
is the metaphor
of the blood he shed.

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