Memories of My Town

Jose Rizal spoke of his childhood days in Calamba, Laguna in this nostalgic poem. Rizal had the happiest and most beautiful memories of the place, the hospitality and friendliness as well as the industry of the people of Calamba. Those memories were influential in molding of his character and intelligence. 

When I remember the days
that saw my early childhood
spent on the green shores
of a murmurous lagoon;
when I remember the coolness,
delicious and refreshing,
that on my face I felt
as I heard Favonius croon;

when I behold the white lily
swell to the wind’s impulsion,
and that tempestuous element
meekly asleep on the sand;
when I inhale the dear
intoxicating essence
the flowers exude when dawn
is smiling on the land;

sadly, sadly I recall
your visage, precious childhood,
which an affectionate mother
made beautiful and bright;
I recall a simple town,
my comfort, joy and cradle,
beside a balmy lake,
the seat of my delight.

Ah, yes, my awkward foot
explored your sombre woodlands,
and on the banks of your rivers
in frolic I took part.
I prayed in your rustic temple,
a child, with a child’s devotion;
and your unsullied breeze
exhilarated my heart.

The Creator I saw in the grandeur
of your age-old forests;
upon your bosom, sorrows
were ever unknown to me;
while at your azure skies
I gazed, neither love nor tenderness
failed me, for in nature
lay my felicity.

Tender childhood, beautiful town,
rich fountain of rejoicing
and of harmonious music
that drove away all pain:
return to this heart of mine,
return my gracious hours,
return as the birds return
when flowers spring again!

But O goodbye! May the Spirit
of Good, a loving gift-giver,
keep watch eternally over
your peace, your joy, your sleep!
For you, my fervent pryers;
for you, my constant desire
to learn; and I pray heaven
your innocence to keep!

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