Commemorating Super Typhoon Yolanda

It will be one year tomorrow when super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Philippines.  It was a very tragic catastrophe to our country but this just again proved that Filipinos can withstand hardships of any kind.  Through this, the Filipino bayanihan spirit had prevailed and reigned.  All people, young and old acted voluntarily to aid the typhoon survivors.  Various projects were formed by different organizations and institutions.  Among the many are Junior Chamber International Philippines (JCIP) ‘s Oplan Damayan, La Salle University-Ozamiz’ Halad:  A Concert for a Cause, and Ozamiz’ small group of young professionals and businessmen’s #TabangGikanSaMindanao.  With this, even from a little child’s one peso, a tricycle driver’s one kilo of rice, to a big businessman’s thousands of pesos, all donations were directly given to those who were greatly affected by the typhoon.  There was no help big or small.  Every single help were counted to ebb away the pain and infliction Yolanda brought to our country.  Read the poem below written by a Yolanda survivor that describes how the super typhoon came to claim lives.

The Haiyan Dead
by Merlie Alunan

Do not sleep.

They walk our streets
climb stairs of roofless houses
latchless windows blown-off doors
they are looking for the bed by the window
cocks crowing at dawn lizards in the eaves
they are looking for the men
who loved them at night the women
who made them crawl like puppies
to their breasts babes they held in arms
the boy who climbed trees the Haiyan dead
are looking in the rubble for the child
they once were the youth they once were
the bride with flowers in her hair
red-lipped perfumed women
white-haired father gap-toothed crone
selling peanuts by the church door
the drunk by a street lamp waiting
for his house to come by the girl dreaming
under the moon the Haiyan dead are
looking for the moon washed out
in a tumult of water that melted their bodies
they are looking for their bodies that once
moved to the dance to play
to the rhythms of love moved
in the simple ways–before wind
lifted sea and smashed it on the land–
of breath talk words shaping
in their throats lips tongues
the Haiyan dead are looking
for a song they used to love a poem
a prayer they had raised that sea had
swallowed before it could be said
the Haiyan dead are looking for
the eyes of God suddenly blinded
in the sudden murk white wind seething
water salt sand black silt–and that is why
the Haiyan dead will walk among us
endlessly sleepless–

Indeed, Yolanda came like a theft in the night.  It was the Unwanted Visitor.  Through prayer and intercession, we can ask God to ease the pain and trauma of the Yolanda survivors.  A year or two or another year.  They still need us.  We might’ve given them their physical needs but they still have their emotional needs which must be given attention.  Since we cannot be there for them physically, at least we still have them in our prayers.

For more poems of Merlie Alunan, follow her on Facebook here!

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