by EJ Gerilla
Lights are on; tunes fill the airwaves,
Christmas has gained its welcome.
Lo, a glimpse of newness over bleakness,
Despite hard times and hunger’s pangs.
Blessed are the beggars
in the triumph of the Light;
Hope breaks the spell of darkness.
Yuletide remains a season for moppets.
Christmas belongs to the innocent.
No grumbling, no fuss, no worries.
Old familiar tunes linger in their ears.
Anticipating the adventure of caroling this year.
So there go the children like loose hunters, gathering bottle caps,
eying nails and slender wood.
Caps flattened, polished
and pinned to a rod with piercing nails
and bruised fingers.
A tambourine is born
to accompany the humming birds.
Our carolers are ready.
They begin with the neighbors,
Raising merry tunes, shaking their tambourine.
Christmas greetings to each household
Chanting of straining voices linger over the panes
Gathering bills, coins, fruits and goodies
As the night stretches into long darkness,
Sometimes unfortunate at hostile households
Chased by unfriendly scamps and dogs
But never disheartened.
Weary yet patient, persevering.
Daring to sing for more homes.
Red lights, chasing cars in traffic,
Singing Christmas tunes,
shaking their tambourine.
Good for a few pennies
if windows slide down
before the lights turn green.
Trudging a few more steps,
Before they end their songs.
They wander far and near
like troubadours and minstrels.
When the night is worn
and distances covered wide
…it’s time to go home.
A night of innocent caroling done.
They divide the fruits of their toil.
One waif, out of his share,
buys a pack of milk.
To a tiny Tondo shanty the boy hurries.
There a babe has waited all night,
Weeping and sighing.
But soon the child in the hammock feeds
Peaceful and so tender,
gazing at his kuya’s sweetest smile.