Did this last night. It’s an illustration of a poem Ninoy Aquino wrote while imprisoned in Fort Bonifacio back in 1973.
There is no one to keep me company
in this lonely cell, in this compound
Where simple, honest men turn to beast
unmoved by pity, untouched by conscience.
I eat alone what food I’m thrown
In unclean metal plates licked by dogs
I pray, I jog, I tire myself, I sleep
Desperately hoping to dream joys I once knew.
Imprisoned in a sweat-box
With knobless door, windows barred,
Walls painted monotonously drab!
Sleeping on concrete “bed”
feasted on by every hungry insect.
Deafened by the silent ticking
of each second in this man-made womb
This, my living tomb.
I barely see the sun
Feel its soothing rays.
I have not seen a single star
for many, many months.
I have forgotten the image
Of a laughing child, a smile
I miss the laughter and songs
of my daughters, greeting of a friend.
I have been exiled to a land
Where time has been suspended
And men’s heartless coldness burns
And death. The only sure relief!
Where even saints are forced to cry
Because angels grow horns, wallowing in sin
Having traded their wings for tails
Their harps and lyres for pitchforks.
In the eerie silence of my tomb
a little mouse appear, nervous, afraid
Retreats to a corner, watch me weep and pray
Returning every night to keep me company.
Later, he shares my meager food, plays to amuse me
Helping me waste the precious, priceless hours.
How strange: I have found friendship with a rodent
I could not find among captors, my countrymen!
I scratch the wall to mark the passage of each day
A day lost forever never to return wasted, gone!
I watch the marching, lengthening column of my days
Passing me by in mournful cadence to their death
Like dripping drops of water from life’s vessels
Drip, drip, drip, the leather jug will soon be dry
Empty like a body with no more blood and tears to shed
and then: Good-bye!
April 22, 1973