Tuesday January 1, 2019

The latest book of Filipina poet and journalist Marra Pl. Lanot “Cadena de Amor” (Chain of Love) is like the flower that makes us feel compassion, friendship, love for family, politics around her world and the memories of her life.

The poems written in English, Tagalog and Spanish will touch you even with the simplest theme about little things —her cat, birthday noodles, facebook and catching dragonflies.

Being a strong feminist herself, Lanot speaks to us about a tribeswoman, machismo, being a Filipina and a woman fighting martial law. In Tagalog, she tells about how women can be “disturbed” doing household chores and taking care of the baby.

“Mabuti pa ang babae nagtatrabaho nang walang sweldo o tropeo (It is good that the women work without pay or trophy).”

But what is most revealing about Marra is her closeness with her parents —her father Serafin Lanot, astrologer and writer himself and musician. Gloria, her mother, who is a businesswoman and a great cook. A whole section of the poems was dedicated to her father “Sa Kaarawan ni Serafin” (On the Birthday of Serafin).” A poignant poem expresses her longing to be with her father who encouraged her writing and to stand up against dictatorship. She writes, “Papa alam ko na mananatili kang anghel, anghel sa mga tala, umiyak man ako ng dagat. (Father I know that you are an angel, an angel among the stars, even if I cry an ocean).”

For her mother Gloria whom she thanks and offers all the flowers in gratitude for the sacrifice that Gloria has done for the family and the moments that her mother have spent with them.

In Spanish, Marra conveys love in “Creo me o no” (Believe or not)”. She says, “Believe or not, I love you for many reasons. We’ve gone through a lot, and I love you in my own quiet way.”

But the selected poems were the most delightful and absolutely beautiful. In “Manila To Me”, she puts across the richness of Manila, its brown children on the streets, the church, and the neon lights. “ Heroes killed for unremembered cause, creating myths around Maria, the loveliness that is Manila to me.”

Cadena de Amor is a tapestry of Marra whose words like the flower will always be pink and lovely. n

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