Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Planting Rice

To Fernando Amorsolo

You capture the special quality
Of the light of our land—
Brilliant but blinding,
Vitalizing yet enervating,

Turning fields green
When the rains arrive,
Roasting grass brittle
When skies are dry.

Beneath broad sun hats,
Sheltered faces shine
As they labor cheerfully
In your pastoral idyll.

Truth be told, planting rice
Is like shoveling coal
In the boiler room,
Bowing constantly.

No matter, art is license
And vision is heritage
Of which we all partake:
We celebrate your genius.

Yellows, radiant pears,
Reds, multihued plums—
Your palette, a fruit bowl,
Vivid feast for hungry eyes.

Your virtuoso brushstrokes
Travel boldly all around,
Testifying to your mastery of oil,
Not to mention draftsmanship.

Your deep rich browns
Bind us to the soil.
Your radiant light
Keeps our sun blazing.

Originally published in Anak Sastra, Issue 17 (October 26, 2014), pages 82-83

Rice Planting (1922) by Fernando Amorsolo


  1. On April 28, 1972, Fernando Amorsolo was posthumously accorded the first award for National Artist of the Philippines in Painting. Four days earlier he had passed away.


  2. Carabao Musings, November 7, 2012:


    Image of Planting Rice (1953) by Fernando Amorsolo at the above link