Me, Myself and I

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Date Submitted: 11/17/2012 01:37 AM

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An Excerpt from Life of Lam-ang (An Iloko Epic)

Listen then while I narrate at lengthThe life of Lam-angBecause his mother conceived him that month.She did not abstain from any edible fruit:Tamarind fruits tender and thin as bamboo strings,Kamias, daldaligan,Oranges and pomelos;Butcher fish, stripped bass, fishes of all sorts;Clams and bivalves big as plates,Maratangtang and sea urchins;Sea algae, aragan and arosip;Shucked oysters, crayfish caught with net;Blue crabs baited with salelem,Deer tracked down and killed, boar trapped.All of these she tasted on her eating binge.Until Namungan, the woman Unnayan,Wife of Don Juan Panganiban,Was done conceiving.And when they had made wholeA new soul,Her womb grew bigger.Listen, my husband Don Juan,Go check on our bamboo grovesIn the mountain of Capariaan.Then make me my reclining bedThe bed I shall useRight after giving birth.Being God-given, my husband Don Juan,The custom cannot be gainsaid.So go cut me some mature bamboo shoots.He prepared to leave and once thereWent around the grove.Then he hailed the strong winds.As well as the torrential rainsAnd cavernous clouds.Lightning and thunder came in waves,Hitting the groves again and againTill it looked like the choicest shootsHad been cut down by a trained bamboo cutter.It is unseemly, such a shameFor me to carry you, bamboos.They thus went ahead, Don Juan behind them.Having reached the home he came down from,In the town of Nalbuan,The bamboos arranged themselves in the yard.My husband Don Juan,Let my reclining bed be of hardwood:This part of molave and gastan;That part of dangla and guava,Whose barks have been skinned,Then buy me a pot, husband Don Juan,And a stove to heat my bath-water.And a one-man pot tooFor our child’s umbilical cord.

And having procured all these, he trekkedTo the blackest mountain, upstreamTo fight the Igorots there.And when her time cameTo deliver the blood made whole,There was not one who was not called:The masseuse-midwife, the fish-hooker,...