“To the Man I Married” by Angela Manalang-Gloria
Angela Caridad Legaspi Manalang-Gloria was born in Guagua, Pampanga on August 7, 1907. During her education in University of the Philippines, her life-long rivalry with the poet Jose Garcia Villa was developed. She also became the literary editor in Philippine Collegian, with Celedonio P. Gloria as the editor-in-chief. Their friendship led to marriage and they had 3 children. On March 11, 1945 Japanese patrol attacked her husband and her son Ruben in Alitagtag, Batangas. Though Celedonio died, Ruben was able to survive but he had a trauma. This left Angela a widow with 3 children to take care of.
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It also forced her to leave writing and change her means of living from a writer to abaca business. Angela died in 1995. Angela’s poems are the only pre-war anthology of in English by a Filipino woman. One of her works is the English-Italian sonnet “To the Man I Married”. A sonnet is a poem written in 14 lines that has 10 syllables each line and a very specific rhyme scheme. The sonnet “to the Man I Married” is a metaphorical way of Angela in showing how much she loves and needs her husband. This is everything that she felt for her husband even after his death. I. You are my earth and all that earth implies: The gravity that ballasts me in space, The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries For food and shelter against devouring days. You are the earth whose orbit marks my way And sets my north and south, my east and west, Your are the final, elemental clay The driven heart must turn to for its rest. ” In these lines, Angela considered her husband her earth. The earth that provides her with everything that she needs in her life. He is her earth where her food is grown. Her husband is her shelter. He is the “air” that she breathes, the one that keeps her alive.
He is the one that gives her directions through the marks that the “orbit” leaves, the one that sets her north and south, her east and west. He is her final elemental clay. Not only does her earth provide her life, he also provides her place to rest by the time she rejoins the Almighty Creator. “If in your arms that hold me now so near I lift my keening thoughts to another one, As trees long rooted to the earth uprear Their quickening leaves and flowers to the sun, You who are earth, O never doubt that I Need you no less because I need the sky! ” Angela needs her earth but she also needs her sky.
He is rooted to the earth but her leaves and flowers are facing the sun, the Almighty Creator. Her earth is a good provider but it is not the only thing that she needs, she also needs the sky just as her earth also does, just like plants and animals. They need sun in order to survive. Angela needs her Almighty Creator to complete her. Angela’s need for her sky doesn’t make her need for her sky any less. She loves him just as always. “You who are earth, O never doubt that I, Need you no less because I need the sky! ” Her love for her earth does not change, still intact and passionate. II I can not love you with a love That outcompares the boundless sea, For that were false, as no such love And no such ocean can ever be. But I can love you with a love As finite as the wave that dies And dying holds from crest to crest The blue of everlasting skies. ” Though she loves her husband, she doesn’t want to overstate it. He might be her earth but she cannot compare her love for him to the ocean. But she compares it to the finite waves that die, after all, the waves reflects “The blue of everlasting sky”. When a wave dies, the sky will be blue. When a person dies his loved ones will be lonely.