THE BLADED POEM

Behold the bladed poem
Tensile and razor-sharp
Cold and glinting silver
In the light or dark.

See how the blackbird
Of a hilt flies
Bedecked with pearls
On the firm mobile hand.

Look at each face
On the leaf of steel,
The virile subtle flames,
Images of incised gold.

On one face are toilers
Varied with pike and ore,
Crucible, hammer and anvil,
Water and whetstone.

Plow and carabao on soil,
The oyster in the sea,
Carving and etching tools,
Bowl of acid on a table.

On the other face
Are the same workmen massed
Upright and poised to fight
Behind the radiant flag.

The uprising completes
The figures of labor
And urges another surge
With the well-versed weapon.

Grasp well the bladed poem
And let it sing in your hands.
This kampilan is a talisman
Of the people in red headbands.

By Jose Maria Sison
March 1982