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”The Molave” by Rafael Zulueta da Costa

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Like the Molave is a poem written by Rafael Zulueta da Costa. He is a Filipino poet and a businessman, who was born at the time when the wounds inflicted by our Spaniard conquerors were still fresh, and it was written at a time when we were under the great influence of the stars and stripes, as mentioned in the poem, just as we all still are.

Like the Molave
By R. Zulueta da Costa

Not yet, Rizal, not yet. Sleep not in peace:

There are a thousand waters to be spanned;

there are a thousand mountains to be crossed;

there are a thousand crosses to be borne.

Our shoulders are not strong; our sinews are

grown flaccid with dependence, smug with ease

under another’s wing.
Rest not in peace;
**Although the poem has been written years after Rizal’s death, after the war against the Spaniards has been over, he asks for Rizal not to rest just yet, because there are still battles that are to be fought, that the Filipinos are still weak as a result of our dependence on other nations. Not yet, Rizal, not yet. The land has need of young blood-and, what younger than your own,

Forever spilled in the great name of freedom,

Forever oblate on the altar of the free?
Not you alone, Rizal.
**Zulueta is trying to say here that there is still need for youth like him whose death has spread in the entire nation, and has been acclaimed as the man who fanned our cause for freedom. O souls and spirits of the martyred brave, arise!

Arise and scour the land! Shed once again

Your willing blood! Infuse the vibrant red

Into our thin anemic veins; until

We pick up your Promethean tools and, strong,

Out of the depthless matrix of your faith

In us, and on the silent cliffs of freedom,

We carve for all time your marmoreal dream!

Until our people, seeing, are become

Like the Molave, firm, resilient, staunch,

rising on the hillside, unafraid,

Strong in its own fiber, yes, like the Molave!
**A Molave is a large Philippine timber tree, with a very hard yellow brown wood, durable for construction, boatbuilding, furniture and cabinet work, flooring, carving and joinery. In the poem likens the Filipino people to be like a Molave tree, who’s sturdiness withstands weathering storms, and natures fury. Where no matter how it is bent, honed or chissled, it remains indestructible. The hardest part of the Molave tree is also its heart, likened to the indominability that a Filipino has to possess in order to hang on to its Independence.

We, the Filipinos of today, are soft,
Easy-going, parasitic, frivolous,
Inconstant, indolent, inefficient.
Would you have me sugarcoat you?
**In this stanza, he describes the Filipino youth of today being, inappropriately sill, lazy, fickle, and not producing any proper result.

I would be happier to shower praise upon
My countrymen… but let us be realists…
Let us strip ourselves…Youth of the land, you are a bitter pill to swallow. **Here, although he wishes to commend or show approval to the his countrymen, he is faced with the fact that the youth of today are not worthy of it.

This is a testament of youth borne on the four pacific winds: This is a parable of seed four ways sown in stones;
This is a chip not only on the President’s shoulder;
The nation of our fathers shivers with longing expectation.
** Here, the disappointment is so strong that he likens the Filipino youth to even the parable of the seed sown in stones, where the blessings are thrown at and are caught in the crevices, but do not grow any root. Even our forefathers are disgruntled. Shall we, sons and daughters, brother youths of the land,

Walk up now and forever knock the flirting chip off?
Or will the nation of our fathers be forever and forever
Lightning candles in the wind?
**He asks now, whether or not we should remain complacent to the times, and have our forefathers forever be hoping for a change that’s never going to happen. The answer is tomorrow and tomorrow.
We shall give up our lives – tomorrow.
Today? This hour? This minute?
We are secure under the Stars and Stripes.

** Here, he refers to the Stars and Stripes as the American flag, and that we should no longer be under its influence in the future. I went to a movie today gosh I cried.
I went to a movie yesterday gee I laughed.
I brought my laughter and tears.
My horse gave dividendazo yesterday,
My new dress is the latest note.
My parents gave me the best of education.
I speak English and Spanish and French.
I speak foreign languages without accent.
I can lisp a little Tagalog.
**In this line, he mentions the advantages that the youth has, to be able to live a life of laughter and sadness, to afford the latest of fashions, to be schooled in the best institutions and able to speak foreign languages, but only a little Tagalog. I think the conga is divine don’t you?

I think szostakowics is brilliant don’t you?
We Manilans are really cosmopolitan.
**He sites here the Manilanians awareness of the Conga, a Cuban drum, and Scozstakowics, a pianist, where the Manilanians knowledge of them considers them sophisticated

Was not Franco the word divine made incarnate?
Were not those leftist red atrocious?
Federico Garcia Lorca? Never heard of him.
**The word Franco seems to refer to the Franco-Latins who were able to subjugate the Church of the Orthodox Christians of the west, allowing them to spread their empire wider. The leftist Reds refer to the Red Army, whether they be of the Japanese or the Germans, whose act of cruelty were widely known during the 2nd World War, the Federico Garcia Lorca, a Spanish Poet, who was murdered during the Spanish War, just as Rizal was. Punctually we remember our dead once a year.

Punctually we worship God every Sunday morning.
We are the only Christian nation in the Orient.
I donated a new organ to my parish.
I made a novena to Saint Anthony.
I gave regularly to our missions.
Our missions cleared the jungle dark.
Our missions hoisted God upon the mountaintop.
Our Igorot child says give me money.

**Hypocrisy seems to be very evident on the previous lines, as we are referred to as the Only Christian nation of the Orient, where we worship our Saints, give too much to our churches, give glory to our dead, go to church every Sunday, and yet unable to help those who are really in need, as represented by the “our igorot child says, give me money”

At the outskirts of the town the schoolhouse inspires.
The children inspire. Philippines my Philippines.
When Washington was a boy his father gave him a hatchet.
We must not tell lies. We have no money for education.

**Here is a reference to the story of George Washington and the hatchet given to him by his father. The little George was so excited receiving his hatchet that he cut off the cherry trees that his father had planted, unknowingly at that time, that his father had spent a fortune on those cherry trees. His father was upset, and angry, but when little George admitted to having cut the cherry trees with the hatchet he gave him, his father said that he would have rather lost a thousand cherry trees, than to have his son tell a lie. We have no money for education. This is what da Costa says in the line, as a continuation to the previous line, where our school inspire Filipino Children, and lack the necessary funding, yet our churches receive large donations for their missions. Hypocrisy!

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