The Guerrilla is Like a Poet

Jose Maria Sison presiding over the International Seminar on Mao Zedong Thought, 1993

Jose Maria Sison presiding over the International Seminar on Mao Zedong Thought, 1993

I’ve highlighted some revolutionary art and culture before. I’ve posted Rage Against the Machine’s acapella perfomance at the RNC protest this September, and the Sendoro Luminoso inspired video for the song Bombtrack. I’ve highlighted the music of Julian Conrado of the FARC-EP. Yesterday I posted an article about the outstanding Palestinian writer and PFLP martyr, Ghassan Kanafani. Today I want to highlight the beautiful poetry and songs of the Filipino revolutionary leader, Jose Maria Sison.

Comrade Sison reconstituted the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968 based on Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and founded the New People’s Army. He is the author of numerous important books and articles, including Philippine Society and Revolution, written under the war-name of ‘Amado Guerrero’. Today Sison lives in exile in The Netherlands and is the Chief Political Consultant to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

This is a music video of Jose Maria Sison’s lyric poem, “The Guerrilla is Like a Poet”. In the video it switches form English to Tagalog halfway through. You can also hear Sison himself sing the poem by clicking here. The words of the poem are in English in full below.

The guerrilla is like a poet
Keen to the rustle of leaves
The break of twigs
The ripples of the river
The smell of fire
And the ashes of departure.

The guerrilla is like a poet.
He has merged with the trees
The bushes and the rocks
Ambiguous but precise
Well-versed on the law of motion
And master of myriad images.

The guerrilla is like a poet
Enrhymed with nature
The subtle rhythm of the greenery
The inner silence, the outer innocence
The steel tensile in-grace
That ensnares the enemy.

The guerrilla is like a poet
Keen to the rustle of leaves
The break of twigs
The ripples of the river
The smell of fire
And the ashes of departure.

The guerrilla is like a poet.
He moves with the green brown multitude
In bush burning with red flowers
That crown and hearten all
Swarming the terrain as a flood
Marching at last against the stronghold.

An endless movement of strength
Behold the protracted theme:
The people’s epic, the people’s war. (3x)

1968

You can listen to Sison sing his songs himself here: Poetry in Songs

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One response to “The Guerrilla is Like a Poet

  1. According to my Teacher in Literature. this poem is represent NPA or we can say it war between Marine and NPA. Many years gone the NPA attitude was very nice. they can give a punishment to the people according to the voice of people . as we can see the last part The people’s epic, the people’s war. .

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