Sittie Saadia M. Muti

You were bequeathed with exquisite beauty beyond compare–
oh, that perfect weather all-year round
The forever spring with your ever verdant foliage
The Sleeping Beauty framing the old Lake Lanao
As the giggles of young boys roaming the streets of padian
Add sound to your beautiful sight. Truly, you are my home.
Do I deserve a home like you?

Forgive me for forsaking you, for abandoning you,
and for surrendering you
In the hands of those who raped your innocence.
Forgive me for doing naught while
I watch you slowly crumbling

If only you could speak. What story will you tell?
Which among your woes would you relate first?
You have witnessed How your children slaughtered each other,
You must have screamed when
They painted the river red with their blood.
You must have become deaf from their gunshots.
You must have been terrified when
The ground quivered every time they dropped those bombs.
You must have cried silently when Everything was torched.
God, the pain you have endured
While witnessing everything disappear
Right before your eyes!

I am sorry for your unbearable agony
Yet, I ask you to remain standing for us
I beg you to be firm for us
I implore you to wait for us,
As we gather our breaths to revive you someday.

I promise you, you shall not wait in vain.
For someday, I will have the courage to protect you
Someday, I will have the strength to defend
Maybe tomorrow, I shall gather you in my loving arms
As you used to do for us all. Yes, someday my beloved.
Just please, please I beg you, Wait for me. 

(Sittie Saadia M. Muti, 30, works at the University Library of the Mindanao State University as College Librarian III. She is from Saguiaran and Balindong in Lanao del Sur and resides in Marawi City. She presented this piece at the ‘Meranao Spoken Word Festival’ held at the American Corner of the University Library, MSU main campus in Marawi City on 23 May 2019, to commemorate the second anniversary of Day 1 of the Marawi Siege. The Festival’s theme was “Reflect, Recreate, Reclaim.” President Rodrigo Duterte declared the country’s lone Islamic City “liberated from the terrorist influence” on 17 October 2017.
‘Meranao Spoken Word Festival’ is the first of a series of Spoken Word events initiated by the Iranon Gumilang as a Meranaw Cultural Heritage project in partnership with American Corner Marawi and English Majors’ Society)