Writers block is a plague and I'm infected. Hi, I'm Araw. I'm seventeen and I call myself I writer.

Message to Readers

Translations for the curious:
1. My love, look at your bird.
2. Do you see her? She sings for you.
3. She sings only for you. Won't you visit her?
4. Her heart is falling apart. Don't you ever think of that?
5. Won't you let me go?

I wanted to use Latin for the words, but I just didn't feel confident enough in my fluency to use it in a story. I instead chose to use Tagalog to make it a little easier on myself. Also, I thought it would be a fun allusion to Ibong Adarna, a classic Filipino epic about a bird with a magical song.

A Caged Bird's Melody

October 29, 2018


In the centre of the garden that can only be found when it chooses to reveal itself, a golden cage sits, untouched by the creeping vines of age. Even amongst the ceaseless growth of night-sky lobelias and silver leaf ivies, the lustrous metal remains free of the garden’s natural worldly grasp. And despite the beauty of the smiling stone cherubs and bouquets of roses and stargazer lilies, the captive held prisoner by those golden bars outshines them all. Her sunny hair cascades all the way down to the floor and flows out like the garden river. The glowing strands are the only parts of her that reach beyond the confines of her prison. Otherwise, it seems she makes no attempts to escape.

               Wander through the garden among the shining cat tails and whispering roses. Listen past the hum of busy bees and the soft chirping of rainbow lorikeets. Pay the buzz of ruby eyed dragonflies no mind. A barely audible meandering melody hangs in the air.
                                                   Aking mahal, tignan mo ang iyong ibon.

                Each syllable drips like honey so thick that it freezes the entire garden in place. Only one thing continues to move. The caged girl’s lips part and meet, but the voice that rings through the garden does not seem to be hers. Still, there is no mistake that it is she and she alone is singing. Her voice is almost haunting.
                                             Nakikita mo ba siya? Kumakanta siya para sa iyo.

               Though she sings, her body remains still. She does not sway with the music. Nor do her hands lift off her lap. It almost seems that if she moves, she will collapse. Even the wind could rattle her slim frame. The golden cage offers little protection. Still, even in her lack of movement, her voice makes it clear she is mourning something.
                                    Kumakanta siya para sa iyo lang. Hindi mo ba siya dadalawin?

               The garden sounds fade away and their words take their place. They are nothing compared to her. The sight of shining poppies and swaying daisies move to her slow rhythm, following her lead. The free birds, no longer singing their own songs, watch her curiously. The wind itself is silenced by her voice.
                                            Nalulumbay and puso nya. Hindi mo ba iisipin iyan?

               It is almost impossible to see, but sure enough tears drip from her eyes and into the locks of hair that spread across the cage floor. In their short lives, they shimmer like diamonds just before finding their end. Despite this, the girl continues to sing. Her voice does not quiver. She does not gasp. She simply sits there, waiting.
                                                           Hindi mo ba papakawalan ako?


See History

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  • mossmachinery

    Gorgeous. Your imagery is stunningly vivid, and the Filipino is wonderfully written (way better than me) and it brings the personality of the piece to a new level. The impact on the reader is strong, most especially to...well, a Filipino.
    Are you a future Palanca Awardee? Probably.

    11 months ago
  • Gabriel Goodwin

    This is really beautiful! I love how you use Filipino (better than me actually), which gives the piece a poetic and meaningful flow.

    I wonder what other Filipino classics you know...

    11 months ago
  • Deleted User

    I gasped so many times. Araw this is one of the best pieces you have ever written. Seriosuly, I don't think I can with you anymore.

    11 months ago
  • Araw

    Made an error in translation on the fourth line. It's "Her heart is falling apart. Won't you think of that?" not "don't"

    11 months ago
  • R.j.Elsewhere

    I'm in love with this! Hats off as always

    11 months ago
  • AminahMcBina

    "Hindi mo ba papakawalan ako? " *Gasps* I loved this line so much!!! A cry to just be free! My words don't do any justice to your talent! I really, really loved this piece, and I love how you added Filipino dialogue. (I have a friend who speaks Tagalog, she's been teaching me a little) :)

    Always keep writing,

    11 months ago
  • Johanna

    Wow. The imagery here is beautiful, and the plot is mesmerising!! Gorgeous piece. I want to learn Latin...

    11 months ago