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P[e]NORAMA | emotion

2010: The Year that (Almost) Was [Part I]12.21.10


It’s that time of the year again when I look back at the past 12 months to take stock of my life. To thank God for the blessings, remember the losses and cherish the gains, and hopefully, to learn from the lessons the last 12 months wish for me to learn. And also, for me to say goodbye to 2010 properly, and to welcome 2011 and face whatever the new year has in store for me.


Instead of doing what I usually do, which is to write the highlights of the year in one long essay, let me instead do it bits by bits, using old drafts in my computer. I find I have lots of them — unfinished reflections and discarded essays and attempts at poetry. I think they capture the significant moments of the past 12 months more as they were written while I was experiencing those moments, than what I could write now based on what I remember of those moments. Who knows, perhaps in trying to make sense of the discarded materials, I will also have a greater appreciation of the things life handed me this year — both the happy and the sad.


So have your cups of coffee, dear friends, and do honor me with your presence, as I reminisce the year that is about to end.

Let us begin with February.

I am often told 2010 is my year. Indeed, it seems it is in view of my little triumphs literary-wise. But behind the jubilations of this year were also tears and pains. In fact, the year began with a great loss. Let me share the moment with you through these pieces I wrote while undergoing it.


These essay and verse were written on February 8 and 9, 2010. They were originally untitled.




Of Sunrises and Sunsets, and Helloes and Goodbyes


When I woke up this morning to find my bus (I was traveling from Ilocos Norte where I attended a GF meeting) was already easing into the Metro Manila early-morning traffic, I looked up to appreciate the sunrise, as I always do whenever I am out at sunrise/sunset. I noticed this morning’s sunrise had faint shades of yellow and green. I thought it was beautiful. It was the first time I noticed those colors in a sunrise.


As I allowed myself to be awed at the scene before me, I told myself it was so great to witness Metro Manila as it is about  to wake up. I allowed myself to be enveloped by the peace and quiet that descended upon me. I knew that soon, people will be everywhere, carelessly rushing to the daily grind.


I didn’t know then that perhaps at that precise moment I looked up at the sky, the world was rocking someone into deep slumber — never to wake up again. Or so she’ll never ever wake up so that though she will never see how beautiful the sunrise and the sunset are, nor smell the flowers, she will also be spared of the world’s troubles and pains.


A little over an hour after that spectacular sunrise, I received a call from my brother. My niece — soon to be eight months old in her mother’s tummy — didn’t have a pulse. The doctors are now preparing to induce birth, he said.


Tonight, I find myself sleeping on a bus — the third night in a row — this time, bound for home. To say hello and goodbye to my niece whose giggles and laughter we will never hear.


//Sherma E. Benosa; February 8, 11:54pm




Welcome Party


Your welcome party’s still in March.

Your mother’s birth month.

Your Tita Sherma’s.

Your granddad’s.

And your great granddad’s.

We were excited for you

More than you can imagine:

The first girl grandchild!


Perhaps, you were as excited as we were.

So excited, it seems, that you

Decided to come early.

Way too early

And without warning.


Silently, you came

Without the protestation of a cry —

You were asleep.

You didn’t even stir

When your parents carried you in their arms.


What a sweet, well-mannered child!

You didn’t like to bother your mother

With cries for milk and nappy change.


Thank you darling

But you forgot one thing:

You forgot to flash us your sweet smile.

Those little lips: so soft, so pink.

So very still.



For Saniata Angela Fernandez Benosa

Born and Died: February 8, 2010



//Sherma E. Benosa; February 9, 2010

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Fill the sheet.


I read the words

But find no message:


I see only the misplaced question marks

And the oversized period.



I read not the words

But the gaps between them


Mirroring how

You stare at me sometimes:


Blank, yet undevoid of meaning.

Full in its emptiness.



Finally, I understand

What you’re trying to tell me:


You’re still here

But already gone.


I stare stupidly at the question marks

And curse the period.



Sherma E. Benosa

February 26, 2009; 8:45am


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Posted in MuZings, Poetry and Verseswith 11 Comments →

Un-Paris Me02.15.09


Help me see beyond the Fraus

That has come to live in you.


Show me how to look beyond

The tempest it has made you become.


Teach me to look not at

The destruction it has made you wreak


But at the torch you patiently held in the olden days

For me to come to where I now stand.



Remind me you used to be the compass

That showed me where North was —


The rudder and sail of my ship

As it traversed many a turbulent seas.


Because now I am beginning to forget;

Because now, I am hopelessly

Inebriated in your lies’ putrid breath —


Masterfully camouflaged, artfully disguised

In what I now see as phony smiles.



Pray I’ll remember that in everyone

There lie remnants of Achilles’ heels


Pray I’ll learn not to be like Paris

That I may not shoot you in your weakness.


Pray I’ll remember, it’s not condemnation

But a torch and a guiding hand that you need.


So you could re-discover where North is.

So you could find the strength to kill

The Fraus that has lodged itself in your heart.




Sherma E. Benosa

February 15, 2009; 2:07pm


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Posted in Poetry and Verses, Spiritualwith 11 Comments →


The following piece was inspired by a conversation I had with a great friend and writing mentor who was grieving the loss of a loved one. Soon, the conversation turned philosophical.

He said: “If I had not loved, I would not be in deep pain now.” I replied, “Yes, but you will also not have the memories you now cherish in your heart.” The conversation went on. Then, I murmured: “In the end, like the ones who had gone before us, we will just be a memory in the heart of those we will leave behind.”


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Posted in Family & Relationships, Life, Love, MuZings, Poetry and Verses, Spiritual, fictionwith 12 Comments →

Parody of Your Smile11.06.08

Summer reigns
In your lips,
But I see flickers
Of autumn
In your eyes.

The lid
Of your anguish
Is tightly clasped,
But the tempest
That dwells inside
Bares the parody
Of your smile.


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Lamentation of the Dream Un-winged06.30.08

From a distance, Dream could see Man staring out of his tiny window, gazing unseeingly at the clouds that were almost completely concealing the rising moon, sadness hugging him tightly. The soft breeze was sighing, and the crickets were eerily quiet.

Dream’s heart went out to Man, despite himself. After all, they used to be inseparable, the best of friends. A tear threatened to fall down Dream’s cheeks, which he was quick to control.

“Ah, my friend,” Dream whispered through the air. “It saddens me to see that the bright light you once had has considerably dimmed. I would so much want to comfort you, if I could. But I need comforting, too. Because like you, I am also feeling wretched, for I failed to become what destiny designed me to be.”

Dream paused, feeling silly. He knew Man couldn’t hear him. But then, he thought he saw Man look in his direction, but maybe he didn’t.

After some time, Dream continued with his anguished whispering.

“I feel bad that you failed, because your failure is mine, too. But what can I do? I did everything to steer you in the right direction. I made myself your inspiration, your driving force. I always accompanied you in your youth; I used to sit by your side as you planned your moves back when you still thought that the future looked so bright. Wasn’t I the one who kept whispering in your ears to keep going whenever you were down? I held the torch for you every time you walked along dark alleys.


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Posted in Life, MuZings, Spiritual, point of viewwith 8 Comments →