'After the Rain' Poems
(for Lina Llaguno Ciani)
It was one of those rare moments in one's writing life. A politician or tycoon could ask one to moonlight for him on a speech or book and give you the equivalent of two months' salary for a couple of days' work. But it is seldom that a fellow artist asks one to write poetry about her paintings. I was of the understanding, when Filipina-Italian painter Lina Llaguno Ciani called, that the request was for a press release on her show, called "After the Rain," at Galleria Duemila in early 2008. But no, I was to write poetry for her new collection done in the aftermath of the terrible storm that devastated Albay and Bicol in November of the previous year. (Lina, whom I haven't met before then, is a sister of two friends, poet Toy Llaguno, who writes in the States, and fiction writer and UN old hand Frankie Llaguno. Toy was a college mate when I was a bashful tyro and fan of their famous sister, and Frankie I met later in Manila. Lina left home shores early to master her art in Italy, married there, and does a homecoming exhibit almost yearly at Duemila.)
So it was bittersweet: writing poetry for fabulous art that both grieved over the disaster of biblical proportions and also saw life renew itself. The show itself was a personal thrill, to say the least. I read to a captive audience (captive to my Keynote presentation of the poems and visuals projected on the white wall of the gallery as I read). But the audience apparently liked the poems as much as the paintings. I had finally made friends with a famous town mate, and with the ebullient Silvana Diaz, the gallery owner.
Here are the poems (never previously published) and paintings for those who missed the show, or would like to read in tranquility that rare magic (that amazed even me) that comes from the collusion and collision of two arts.