Selected Poems


By EMMANUEL R. FERNANDEZ





THE  ETERNAL REMEMBERER

          “All of us are creatures of a day; the rememberer
          and the remembered alike.”
               -- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Every day you strive hard to leave behind
Something you will be remembered by –-
A shining thought on a page,
A good deed engraved in the minds of men,
A feeling caught in a net of words
Or trapped in a web of melodies…
You spend the minutes and hours
Of your passing days
Desperately writing your name
On the walls and mountainsides of Time.

What for is all this striving
To be still recalled long after you are gone?
Why this stubborn rebellion
Against your irreversible fate?
Like everyone else’s, your life on earth
Is nothing but a desert sand
Forever blown away by the winds of Time.

The footprints you leave behind today
Will be gone tomorrow.
Even the castles you have built,
Sturdy as they may seem,
Will not withstand the raids of change.

Ah, but somewhere out there
Someone has been lovingly
Watching your every move,
Listening to every sound you make,
Reading every thought you form –-
Including the ones you have left unspoken.
He gazes upon you everyday as though
You are all that mattered in the world.

And when the last of your rememberers
Himself becomes a fading remembrance,
He will still be there watching you,
Knowing your name by heart,
And holding the grains of the life you have lived
As if no jewel on earth
Could ever surpass their worth.


COUNTERPOINT TO EMMA LAZARUS’S
“The New Colossus”*

Mother of Exiles (as the poetess named you),
I sail to you not aboard an immigrant’s ship
But a tourist ferry.   And, no, 
I have not come here to stay…
I have merely come to take a quick look
At your famed figure –- a visitor who shall soon
Sail away from your shores and fly back home.

But, the longer I gaze at you, Mother of Exiles,
The more I realize what an exile I, too, am.
Though I am neither poor nor tired
Nor homeless; though I am not
A wretched refuse from my country’s
Teeming shore (to borrow the lady bard’s words),

Something inside me yearns to break free.
From what chains?   I do not know.
Or, perhaps, I merely refuse to know.

Pray, mighty woman with that flaming torch,
Pray that, wherever I shall be from here, from now,
My exile’s heart will finally find
Its own New World of fresh beginnings
And shining dreams waiting to be born.


 *“The New Colossus” is a sonnet written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 to
 help raise funds for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of
 Liberty on Liberty Island,  New York.  Lazarus’s  poem is
 inscribed on a plaque at the pedestal’s entrance.  



A POET'S LAMENT  

Dying to speak yet
bereft of words, I ask why
the Muse has left me
so soon, so hastily...
I reach out for a line
to express what the heart
so desperately wishes to
make known; my thoughts
escape me like fugitives
running from a cruel captor.
I yearn to pour the soul's
hundred songs onto the
waiting parchment;
the empty page stares at
me like a starless night.