Jose Rizal is the Philippines’ national hero. He was an amazing polymath. One of the fields he excelled in is poetry. While other poets wrote out of sheer creativity, Rizal wrote mostly out of fervor for his motherland. Many other poets write or wrote for the fame or to please a patron. He always wrote under duress. He lived during the time of the corrupt colonial Spanish government. This is probably why there is such poignancy in his poetry. It is as though he longs for a better life for his people. Yet he also cared for and understood that Spain was not all to blame. He was born to a rich family.
He was afforded a proper education despite the fact that his brother Paciano was suspected of being a subversive. His first teacher was his mother. She taught him the rudiments of the basic alphabets available then. The first poem he ever wrote was written at age 8. The original title is ” Sa Aking Mga Kabata”. Roughly translated in English the title reads “My Childhood Friends”. It exhorted his generation to love their native tongue. It already reflected a fierce nationalism stoked by his young mind’s perception of the colonizer’s atrocities. The first stanza as translated in English reads this way: If truly a people dearly love.
The tongue to them by Heaven sent, They’ll surely yearn for liberty Like a bird above in the firmament. His subsequent poetic pieces were done in Filipino, Spanish and English. Rizal was a polyglot to the highest degree able to communicate in at least 22 languages. A poem written in his youth aptly titled “A La Juventud Filipina” translated in English as “To The Filipino Youth” reflects his desire for the younger generation to take the reins of reform and alleviate the plight of the motherland. He also reiterates a love for Spain and differentiates between the nation and the corrupt system.
The first and 4th stanza of this poem reads: Lift up your radiant brow, This day, Youth of my native strand! Your abounding talents show Resplendently and grand, Fair hope of my Motherland! See that in the ardent zone, The Spaniard, where shadows stand, Doth offer a shining crown, With wise and merciful hand To the son of this Indian land. Rizal’s poetry even in the early years was rhythmically attractive and communicated well. The style was intense and interesting. His poems were not written for the sake of espousing a cause although he did that effectively.
His personal activities against the colonizing country ultimately led to his martyrdom. His last poem originally written in Spanish was written from prison and as was his execution done with courage belying a man facing death. His final poem was entitled” Mi Ultimo Adios” translated in English as “My Final Farewell”. It reflects the poignancy of the realization of his impending execution. It also reflects the steadfastness of the man as he faces his martyrdom. The final stanza reads as follows: Farewell, parents, brothers, beloved by me, Friends of my childhood, in the home distressed; Give thanks that now I rest from the wearisome day;
Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, who brightened my way; Farewell, to all I love. To die is to rest. His last poem which was his last piece of communication was a catalyst in war against Spain. It was key in making Rizal the rallying point of the revolution. Its sentiments reverberated in the hearts of the Filipino and unified them against the common enemy. It is ironic that a man of nonviolent nature becomes the focal point of an armed insurgency. Some fight with weapons. His weapons were his words. His words were his guns and his swords. Source: http://voices. yahoo. com/the-poetry-jose-rizal-10972588. html