my dear river,

...... 1700's
my old grandpa created you
you were named after him.
he dug up the ditch to widen you
so your waters will flow to the sea
and not flood the town.
you divided the town from west to east
a wooden bridge closed the gap,
so people could walk over you
and horse drawn carriages traveled through
from town to town.
farmers along your way irrigated their crops,
folks would come to wash their clothes
and children came to swim,
enjoying your crystal clear waters
... you were so full of life!

...... 1800's
flood waters rose,
the bridge disappeared
engineers replaced it
with a concrete span.
people greeted as they passed by,
bicycles and vehicles crossed
daily, a dozen times.
concrete dikes contained your waters
where fishes, turtles swam around
where children played on your banks
dipping stealthily, when adults were not around.
there was a legend to your name,
you became the landmark of the town
... the Quiaoit River.

...... 2000's
after an absence for a while
i came back to this busy city,
once my rustic home town
i stood on the new concrete bridge
pondering, my dear river
what happened to you?
there is a pool of water here
grasses on some islets there
papers strewn on the banks,
plastic bottles floating
on murky waters,
no longer flowing
no fish, no turtle swimming.
how will they save you now,
... my dear old legendary river?

Historical note: The legendary Quiaoit River in Batac, Ilocos Norte was named after my forefather, Don Andres Quiaoit. Capitan Bazar of the town in 1710, Gobernadorcillo in 1719, 1720 and 1722 during the Spanish Era in the Philippines. He diverted the flow of a spring from a mountain to prevent the flooding of the town, at the same time allowing the waters to be used as irrigation for the farmlands through its route to China Sea.
Source: Quiaoit Genealogy)

nihneeq 04/21/14 (Revised from a poem written at Haven Writing Retreat, Walking Lightly Ranch, Whitefish, Montana, with Author Laura Munson, Sept. 2013)



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