Don’t you know that a mountain is nothing but smoke?
Don’t you know that a thought is nothing but foam?
Don’t you know that sackfuls of rice will go bad
when they’re hidden deep down in the breast of a poem?
Make a dragon swoop down from the mountain of smoke
that your thoughts made of foam may be put to the test;
make a throne out of rice that’s been kept in a nook
that a God may be wrought from the poem in your breast.
Translated from the Tagalog by José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes