Bamboo shoots

bamboo grove
Poems like this are like a bamboo grove, planted and nurtured by half-forgotten old folk, relentlessly tossed by the wind and rain, their foliage shed in the worst seasons of drought. But hopefully they’ll endure, for children to discover the ancient nooks and crannies where they will play and build their own dreams.


Many years have carved these slopes.
It was around this time in March when
North Wind tarried on, defying summer thirst,
and a thousand shoots of green rejoiced.
They’d passed the test, and cried for joy, and raced uphill.
And we, who nurtured them, were about to shout
our wildest greetings when the thought struck us:

Titled erudites in robes they’re not
but nonetheless proud gracile barefeet children,
thinned by drought and scarred by storms,
who volunteered to scale the heights
and scatter raging monsoon winds,
though they bend and break in shadow.
Soon, and gently, they will guard all ridges.

Behold, our finest sons and daughters touch the sky
and soon we’ll carpet this beautiful land
in crimson fruit and golden grain from ridge to coast.
Though we’re not yet allowed to write their names.
Just not as yet their real names.

Jun Verzola
19 March 2014
(with minor revisions 19 March 2019)


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