“DEAR JESSE”

(A Tribute to a Great Bicolano)

 
Baby face why did you leave so  fast?
Against our wish, our flags, half mast
On August 18, 2012 time grinded to a halt
On a cloudless day we were wrenched apart.
                             
Like a weary eagle on a flight to her nest
You were on your way home, seeking rest
Beloved wife and daughters, rare gems in mind
Oh, what solace, what comfort, in their embrace you’d find.
 
 
Naga, “ang maogmang lugar,” the cheerful place
Is stricken with grief, flooded in tears
Oh, the beacon of hope, our one big pride
Has laid down the torch and crossed the great divide.
 
 
Like a candle whose light is snuffed out
Like a pilgrim without direction
Like a cub, maimed and abandoned
We lost a pillar of hope,  what desperation!
 
 
The Son of man, once bloodied, lifeless on a tree
Took the hand of a man  whose plane plunged to the sea
Sparing him from undeserved agony
Jesus, our Lord, quickly embraced our dear Jesse.
 
 
No pain, no pain that was the way he went
Even as thousands, no, millions wept and wept
Toward the glorious light, he took a new flight
Yonder the rainbow where there’s no night.
 
 
Oh, weep not Bicolandia! Weep not Philippines!
Jesse is in a place where pure joy reigns
Cheer up, advocates of Matuwid na Daan
His mission’s well-done, while ours has just begun.
 
 
Dear Jesse, you left a vacuum hard to fill
We have one less leader, with political will
One less friend, one less brother
One less mentor, one less father.
 
 
One less brilliant mind, one less able hand
One less smile, one less shoulder
One less neighbor, one less adviser
One less son, and one less lover.
 
 
We will remember you with childlike fondness
Charming mayor in baggy shorts and slippers
Unmindful of rain, in chitchat with street sweepers
Raking mud, throwing trash, away from a cam’s glare.
 
 
In life you gave and gave and gave
Not money but time, wisdom, talent and faith
Lives are empowered, against odds, now brave
Your kind deeds and example, in our hearts, enclaved.
 
 
 Funny, I never knew you on a personal level
Not even a handshake nor a photo op to wiggle
But tis’ true,  tis’ true, “proximity is not intimacy
As I connected with you in ideals, passion and philosophy.
 
 
Praise God for rare public servants like you
Who gave and gives flesh to the Lord’s words, oh true.
Whatever you do to the least of your brothers,
You do it for me.”
Compassion at work, not empty words — T’was you, Jesse.
 
 
Dear Jesse, as you smile from a fluffy cloud
We express our longing, shamelessly aloud
A flurry of kisses we blow softly, heaven bound
A lullaby, a whisper of love, for you to hound.
 
 
As we look forward to the great banquet up there
Where the groom awaits the bride, heart so eager
Wait still, dear friend, time is nigh, yes, so near
When we shall see face to face amidst the angels’ cheers.