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Jun 2009
Takipsilim (Twilight): A Poem by Becky
Posted in Uncategorized by Tita Becky at 11:09 pm | Comments Off on Takipsilim (Twilight): A Poem by Becky

(posted by Bhex Arcega)

Of the many poems that my mother wrote which were published in Liwayway Magasin, this was her favorite. It was printed in the July 22, 1974 issue of Liwayway, and later in the HIYAS series of literary texts for high school students (2nd year volume).

She dedicated the poem to Nanang Ata, a beloved cousin of my grandmother (Becky’s mother) who took care of my mother and her seven sibings, and even her siblings’ children when they were born. My mother said that she got the idea for it when she saw Nanang Ata resting on a rocking chair facing the sunset. “Gandang visual effect!” she recalled.

I asked for her permission to share this poem on her blog before she passed on. However, I did not ask for her permission to translate it. I’m being brazen and including my translation here anyway, for people who might have a hard time understanding some of the archaic Tagalog words in the poem.

Please forgive me if the subject matter seems a bit morbid, given the circumstances, but I did promise my mother I was going to put it up… and I know she would have wanted others to read it. She was truly proud of this poem, and for good reason.


Mapuputlang buhok na unát na unát:
korona ng takipsilim.
Noóng magatla.
Mga matang pilit nagsasara.
Pinaglalabanang antok.
Mga labing nagdidikit:
kay-hirap ibuka upang basbasan
ang mga bagong-dugo.
Pisnging hinihilang pababa
ng kaway ng alabok.
Hukot na balikat.
Baluktot na likod.
Gamundong dalahin ng mga alaala
ng isang tag-araw.
Maugat na leeg.
Mabutong dibdib.
Mga susong tinuyot ng pagmamahal.
Sa bagong-ugat na karugtong ng pusod.
Nanginginig na mga kamay.
Lipák na mga palad
na hindi nangiming ihawak
ng araro at suyod
sa pagpapala sa mayamang dibdib ng lupa.
Mahihinang tuhod.
Butuhang gulugod.
Isang libong taón bago maihakbang
patungo sa nakangangang puntod.

Naghihintay ang mga úod.

– Becky A. de los Reyes
“Liwayway,” July 22, 1974


Utterly straight pale hair:
the crown of twilight.
A forehead with deep grooves.
Eyes that struggle to shut.
Drowsiness being fought.
Lips sticking together:
how hard to open them to bless
the new blood.
Cheeks pulled downward
by the beckon of the dust.
Hunched shoulders.
Bent back.
A world of weight of memories
of a summer.
Veiny neck.
Bony chest.
Breasts dried up by love.
For the new vein that is connected to the navel.
Shaking hands.
Callused palms
that did not shy away from holding
the plow and the till
in digging into the rich breast of the earth.
Weak knees.
Bony spine.
A thousand years before
a step toward the yawning grave.

The worms await.

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