Kristine Ong Muslim

Lesson in History

The town ignited

at the dawn of the century

after dropping

the words:


to slay and destroy by fire. It is much better

if there is more

including everyone older

than ten years

As if dangling

from the tongues

of cathedral bells

the wishes

After the alarm sounded

nobody is looking forward

to the tolling of bells

In the hollow

cathedral bells hold

all that can be stowed away

Translated by Kristine Ong Muslim.

You can read and listen to the poem in the original Filipino here.