Solitary Confinement

Did this last night. It’s an illustration of a poem Ninoy Aquino wrote while imprisoned in Fort Bonifacio back in 1973.

Solitary Confinement

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!

Prison Poem

FortBonifacio

Easter Sunday

April 22, 1973


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