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September 2023

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Ms. Rhodora P. Maganito

Ms. Rhodora P. Maganito, is an award-winning poet. She was one of the Top Ten Winners/Top Ten Finalists competing for the honor of Poet of the Year at the 2000 International Society of Poets Convention held in Washington, DC. She has received other awards and citations for her prolific poetry work. She was elected member of the United Poets Laureate International Board of Directors in the 24th World Congress of Poets held in Sonoma County, California.

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This is for the flock of feathered friends
brother birds that battled winds
soaring horizons, searching far — 
to savor the glorious summertime in July
This is for a parade of bloody poppies
for swaying wheat dancing in the fields
exultant in their courage and quest
for sister sunshine and Morning rain
And this is for the vagabonds begging
barely reaching the medieval streets
cautiously defying rules and authorities,
while waiting for church doors’ opening 
This too is for the train-weary travelers
coming in drove from hill towns and cities
a long list of petitions in their pockets, 
with earnest pining for the blue moons
This is for immigrants at the airport
coming from halfway down the globe,
willing to embrace a new culture and risk all
if it takes swallowing pride and prejudice
This one is for tired and weary pilgrims 
anxiously awaiting entrance to hallowed grounds
with yearning in their hearts for renewals
upon which to build their spiritual lives
And this is for poets, musicians, and choirs
their muses music and songs filling the Cathedrals,
lofty spirits immersed in ceaseless prayers
with hopes for more inspiration to come
While this is for swallows sweeping the Umbrian sky
gracefully singing and darting everywhere
seemingly flocking and hovering more
in mystical Assisi than anywhere —,
Faithfully guarding the latter-day St. Francis
in our midst - God's humble servants of love,
the mirrors as beloved as the "Alter Christus"-
The poor blest joyful fools for Christ

 (Inspired By Elma Diel Photikarm's Arrivals)

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Looking in the mirror and reflecting upon the colors -
Do you see the blues of deep oceans,
the poignant greens of distant mountains,
Earth's solid browns and morning skies of grays
or the starless blacks of dark cold nights?
Closing your eyes and with your mind's eye,
traveling to faraway lands -
Do you see and feel the hunger pangs of the malnourished children,
the scared looks of nightwalkers, and the vacant stares of a youth
deprived of childhood innocence 
brought by senseless ethnic cleansing and bloody wars?
Is nothing more heart-wrenching than the despairing
cry in every mother's eyes?
Blinking under the glaring light and harshness of the noonday sun 
Do you pass and not see the ''Invisibles" lying in the corner of the streets,
where soiled tattered clothes of rags
and beds of old newspapers fill the air
with oppressive body odor and soured alcohol breaths?
Is nothing more blinding than your hiding and averting eyes?
Reflecting within, and gently touching the flame
unveiling the heart with illuminating rays,
Do you see with the eyes of faith the converging colors
of the rainbow and that underneath it all, we are one?
Is nothing more freeing than the amazing grace
clearing your eyes?
Now, coming around while turning to meet each other's eyes, 
Tell me what you see —
Is nothing more inspiring than mirroring the radiant colors
and brilliance of our Creator's eyes?

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I am no Saint Clare - 
No white lilies surround my head
More like scarlet stains adorn my breasts.

Something in my eyes 
attracts men like ships to a lighthouse
on a stormy, restless sea.
My laughter beckons
like the Siren’s song
on foggy, cold nights.
Men shiver, hearts numb
in need of human warmth.

Unseen by human sight, I whisper their names
in the darkness, igniting the fire within their fragile hearts-
I am the flame that satiates the darkness of their carnal nights,
but only for a while.

They come and then go, just like that.

And when they leave, I, full of tears prostrate myself
back to the ground like a repentant
Mary Magdalene pouring precious oil at her Master’s feet.

Once again, I heard Him call me by name,
No condemning words, just the gentlest of looks,
And I rise, like Lazarus from his grave.

This poem won second place in the Free Verse Category during the
22nd World Congress of Poets in Greece

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Here I am, overlooking the tiled roofs,
Above which the crescent moon hangs over Saint Clare's Basilica,
And the warm summer night fills the air with faint aromas of coffee,
wildflowers, and olive blossoms.

Here, before the silence of darkness where solitude resides,
I inhale deeply as I remember vividly - 

Ten summers ago, Assisi's call to share God's gifts were heard
and responded to with enthusiasm 
As the mission became clear as daylight 
and I, with humility, accepted this great responsibility 
with the seriousness of purpose placed upon me by You -

Who brought us all together with a common bond and passion 

And somehow, out of this came the fulfillment
This summer festival shared with kindred 
spirits which through the years take a life of their own
Blessing our lives with more than a hundredfold.

And now, with offerings of thanksgiving and praise,
I bow my head reverently to this embracing presence who is with us all,
Knowing that - 

When summer returns 
and the glorious sun rises and shines, 
Saint Cecilia's gifted children will come again with heavenly music,
poetry, and songs - 

Where the gift of joy blossoms, 
And roses bloom without thorns.

This poem won First Place, (Open Form Category) in the Poetry Competition
during the 22nd World Congress of Poets in Larissa, Greece.

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