The Tragic Lullaby

Woke up one night to your soft voice,  singing an old Filipino Bicol Lullaby “ *Sa Diklom Nin Bangui….”.  Why is my brother crying and restless?  Mama, you are singing to keep him still and calm…..

Oh mama, mama didn’t you you see?  My brother is gasping for lack of air!  If I know then what I know now, oh mama, mama I would declare……

Take him quick to the doctor  near  even in the darkest of nights and dangerous tide; nothing to deter you for your baby, my brother, so dear…..

In your innocent mind, a mother’s love and touch was enough to cure a poor sick child!   So through the night you sing….the baby gasping for lack of air!

I was a child, no knowledge of the world, born only to observe and listen but not to reason….. it was my role to keep silent and passive.  Why?

My baby brother dying in your arms,  I’m sad for you and for him too!  For I’m remembering all these events from long ago.

The daylight comes and then we go to doctor in the nearest town;  the quiet baby seems at rest and mama sigh relief but not for long for we are told….. “too late,” the doctor said…

”Bronchial  Pnemonia,” he proclaims too late for cure at this late hour!  The redness in my father’s eyes spoke of tears and grief withheld. No words spoken….

The silent mourners marched toward the grave of my dear baby brother; finally, my mother said as they lower the baby’s coffin to the watery grave, “my dearest child, you will be cold!”


* Sa diklom nin bangui translates in English as “In the darkness of the night.”


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