My Last Thought

My Last Thought is the English translation of the Spanish poem Mi Ultimo Adios, the last poem that Jose Rizal finished hours before his execution on December 30th 1896.

Land I adore, farewell! thou land of the southern sun’s choosing!
Pearl of the Orient seas! our forfeited Garden of Eden!
Joyous I yield up for thee my sad life, and were it far brighter,
Young, rose-strewn, for thee and thy happiness still would I give it.
Far afield, in the din and rush of maddening battle,
Others have laid down their lives, nor wavered nor paused in the giving.
What matters way or place the Cyprus, the lily, the laurel,
Gibbet or open field, the sword or inglorious torture,
When ’tis the hearth and the country that call for the life’s immolation?

Dawn’s faint lights bar the east, she smiles through the cowl of the darkness,
Just as I die. Hast thou need of purple to garnish her pathway?
Here is my blood, on the hour ! pour it out, and the sun in his rising
Mayhap will touch it with gold, will lend it the sheen of his glory.

Dreams of my childhood and youth, and dreams of my strong young manhood,
What were they all but to see, thou gem of the Orient ocean !
Tearless thine eyes so deep, unbent, unmarred thy sweet forehead.

Vision I followed from far, desire that spurred on and consumed me!
Greeting! my parting soul cries, and greeting again! . . . O my country!
Beautiful is it to fall, that the vision may rise to fulfilment,
Giving my life for thy life, and breathing thine air in the death-throe;
Sweet to eternally sleep in thy lap, O land of enchantment !

If in the deep, rich grass that covers my rest in thy bosom,
Some day thou seest upspring a lowly, tremulous blossom,
Lay there thy lips, ’tis mysoul; may I feel on myforehead descending,
Deep in the chilly tomb, the soft, warm breath of thy kisses.

Let the calm light of the moon fall around me, and dawn’s fleeting splendor;
Let the winds murmur and sigh, on my cross let some bird tell its message;
Loosed from the rain by the brazen sun. let clouds of soft vapor
Bear to the skies, as they mount again, the chant of my spirit.
There may some friendly heart lament my parting untimely,
And if at eventide a soul for my tranquil sleep prayeth,
Pray thou too, O my fatherland! for my peaceful reposing.
Pray for those who go down to death through unspeakable torments;
Pray for those who remain to suffer such torture in prisons;
Pray for the bitter grief of our mothers, our widows, our orphans;
Oh, pray too for thyself, on the way to thy final redemption.

When our still dwelling-place wraps night’s dusky mantle about her.
Leaving the dead alone with the dead, to watch till the morning,
Break not our rest, and seek not to lay death’s mystery open.
If now and then thou shouldst hear the string of a lute or a zithern,
Mine is the hand, dear country, and mine is the voice that is singing.

When my tomb, that all have forgot, no cross nor stone marketh,
There let the laborer guide his plough, there cleave the earth open.
So shall my ashes at last be one with thy hills and thy valleys.
Little ’twill matter then, my country, that thou shouldst forget me !
I shall be air in thy streets, and I shall be space in thy meadows.
I shall be vibrant speech in thine ears, shall be fragrance and color,
Light and shout, and loved song forever repeating my message.