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Prison Poems from FIRE TREE
Camp Crame Stockade
November 4, 1984

Searching
by Doris N. Baffrey

to Manoling and his tribe

you look into our windows for light
hoping for the right answers

to question those answers
serve only
to give birth
to more questions

confusion brings you back
to our dingy halls
to layers of musty screens
which
though meant to divide us
instead bring us closer
bond us
as brothers and sisters
of a distraught nation
we were born to serve

you ask us
don't you ever cry
the answer my brother
is no

for what right do we have
to shed tears
over a few iron bars
while others have spilled their blood
for a sacred cause
no brother
there is no reason to cry
for as long as
you search for the truth
your thirst for knowledge
remains unquenched
as long as you keep coming back
to take with you
the little that we have to offer
then you are reason enough
for making prison
worth its while

(Reprinted with author's permission from FIRE TREE: Prison Poems from the Philippines (Lines of Darius Printing, USA 1985)

© Doris Nuval Baffrey

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