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January 2021

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Mr. Jose Maria N. Ramos

Mr. Jose Maria N. Ramos is a well-rounded dabbler in the arts who has been writing poems since his High School days. In college, he took a course that led to twin degrees (one of which was Liberal Arts). Ever driven by his urge to write poetry, he took advantage of those days in college to refine his craft. Shortly after graduating, he went into a long hiatus to try his hand at Professional Photography. However, in that new field of endeavor, the art of writing somehow still beckoned, as projects requiring the production of Audio-Visual Presentations, Video Documentaries, Voice-overs, and soundtracks – called on him to switch back to literary mode from time to time. Not long after, he shifted to Corporate Special Events, where he wrote scenarios for outdoor-based Team Building Adventure Games. Mr. Ramos is the holder of two degrees from De La Salle University (Manila): Bachelor of Arts, Major in Communication Arts, and Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Major in Accounting. He is also a retired Certified Public Accountant.

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Never send flowers,
never write poems

Your mind is imprisoned
whenever it roams.

From the depths of defeat,
or the heights of grandeur

From the past complete,
or the future unsure.

So my friend, you see
it’s really quite wise

To follow the rest,
of this, my advice.

On days when you feel
so lost and alone …

Never send flowers,
never write poems.

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The pine trees outside, whisp'ring in the wind
and the Yellowbell flowers swaying in time,
to the accompaniment of the fluttering
sound of the venetian blinds.

The large, varnished radio on the floor,
playing music of the times, with the distant
sound of aircraft engine droning in a
sonorous monotone.

The shaky electric fan, blowing cool air my
way, through the wooden frame of the crib,
while mother talks as she changes
the wet pillowcase.

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Would you like to come
and walk with me…
Would you like to sit
and watch the sea?

I would like to take, this chance
you know…
Even if our feelings ebbed
so long ago.

Now, I think, I know the time is right
for this guy to make up
for the chances he missed.

And, just like long ago,
you’ll be in my arms again
Just for tonight.

Then we’ll see the sights
in old downtown…
See if all our friends
are still around.

Tell me if a spark remains inside
holding all the love for me
you used to hide.

Now I really know, the time is right.
Hold on for minute
and I’ll tell you, girl…

And just like long ago
You’ll be in my arms again…
Not just tonight!

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To Daragang Magayon (Mayon Volcano)

O, glorious, enchanting mountain maiden,
when they discover you at last,
Will you tell of the beauty of the
ages, or the fiery fury of your storied past?

You are the pride of the island, indeed a
child of Mother Earth,
Primeval murmurings and upheavals
foretold the coming of your birth.

You stand in awesome, splendid beauty,
your head above the scudding clouds,
Your silence is so becoming,
until you deign to roar out loud.

And dark at night, when all is still,
your pointy apex proudly glows,
For all to see all to know…
That you need not be all capped in snow.

O, glorious, enchanting mountain maiden,
when they discover you at last,
Will you tell of the beauty of the
ages, or the fiery fury of your storied past?

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Philippines, my Philippines!
Oh, where hast thou gone?
Millions of hearts no longer
Beat in unison, at thy command.

The ravings of the mad buffoon
has supplanted the fear of God,
and madness reigns supreme
upon thy earthly sod.

Our forefathers fought for thee
and brought us freedom’s light,
but onslaught of mindless legions
has brought the terrors of the night.

Bound in the demon’s rapture,
the teeming millions cry,
that change has truly come,
while freedom’s well runs dry.

The stirring of the dragon
upon our Western Sea,
supported by the madman’s yearnings,
spells doom through perfidy.

Today we yearn for freedom
yet true freedom we never did know…
always recalling better days,
beneath the dawn’s dark afterglow

Philippines, my Philippines!
Oh, where has though gone?
Millions of hearts no long
awaken at thy command.

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When times are good
or when joy is hard to find,

There is a place I always go,
within the hallowed halls
deep within my mind.

Within these halls, are
secret rooms,
each one is vast and still.

And within each room\
is a golden vault
that contains exactly
what I feel.

And these vaults open
with a crackling snap
And as I plumb cherished
mem’ries that I’ve wrapped…

The mem’ries carry me
through thick and thin,
they also cap the raptures
that I’m sometimes in.

So take a walk within your
Hallowed Halls,
and put your mind at rest,
Whenever life seems
to put put you through
some horrid, awful test.

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Seated gargoyles, seated gargoyles,
what have you to sell?
In the roasting heat of noon,
in the putrid, acrid smell of gloom

What have you to show,
What have you to sell…
What have you to obviate
the felling of this hell?

Shrieking harpies, shrieking harpies,
do your throats not swell?

With a sonic charge so near,
what a piercing shriek we hear.
Oh, yes we know, your throats cry well,
And yet they sound, the sound of woe,
the sound of woe you sell.

Lined-up pupptes, lined-up puppets,
do you not realize?

Your strings are gone, your wings are free,
for you, this day, to fly?
Your eyes show light, though dark are they,
Now show how gargoyles, harpies, puppets pray.

This poem garnered First Place in the University Week Poetry competition, De La Salle University, Manila, circa 1975.

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