by Erlie Lopez

I saw the tears streaming down their cheeks

to their pink face masks,

those eighteeners-and-up who raised their hands

and shrieked their battlecry when on the stage

someone asked who voted for the first time.

Sad but proud they were to show their heartbreak

as they tried to seal every word of the woman

whose light, love and plans for one and all

have drawn them out of their pigeonholes.

And the tears even became sobs and laughter both

when the “should-be president” gave them a little more time

to cry before she would further speak.


And then in the hush

when even the summer breeze hanged on the trees

she said the dreams, the hopes, the work must go on

the youth’s passion and energy she had seen

she said she would harness beyond the votes.

They might have been beaten by whatever means

but pain she declared can do something great

because its root is love.

And so the boys and girls in the crowd clapped

and cried some more this time with joy.


It has been one special season

when these Hopes of a troubled motherland

were baptized into a fiery love for country

and learned in their defeat

that the pain that could have broken them

is a good place to start, to grow more as a citizen

not just a nerd or techie or plain restless soul.

To the bone, they got to feel

it is a season to now be the seed that will bloom

to be the change the country sorely needs

that can make the castles politicians built/build

crumble on the sand.


That scene I knew I will hold in my mind

a sweet thought to take to my own journey’s end

as my aching body riveted for a last look at the sky

and saw the stars a-sparkle even as the rain

got ready to pour and push the young and old

out to whatever reality awaits

in our beloved home

the Philippines.


(Note: I referred to the event four days after the national election marked by allegations of cheating and manipulation of the voting machines and process. The Dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr (Bongbong) is now the presumptive president who defeated the current Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo (Leni). Petitions to disqualify and cancel his certificate of candidacy for tax evasion of reasons previously filed have been raised and are still pending to the Supreme Court. This event is the defeated Robredo’s thanksgiving to her passionate and energized volunteers, mostly youth. It was held in the campus of a top university in Metro Manila.)

About the Poet:

Erlie Lopez is a Filipina retired from the frenetic world of Public Relations and Advertising in Metro Manila. She was, in the last 18 years, head of a PR agency she co-founded. In her independent and sedate world now, she mostly reads, writes, stays socially connected, soaks in Nature, and develops new interests and skills adapting to the pandemic mode of life. She has also returned to a first love – poetry – which keeps her heart open to the grace and rhythm of the universe.