Longing For The Land

Longing For The Land


I was born in the Philippines. A biochemist by training and profession, I came to the US to pursue further graduate studies in Biochemistry and Public Health. Academia has been my life until two years ago when I was forced to quit due to an illness. I’ve been writing poetry ever since; my love for poetry, however, started when I was a kid. In 2016, I published two poetry books on Amazon: “Moments with Mama” and “Petals for Papa.” I’m currently working on my third, with August as my target date for publication.

 I'm just sharing what's in the heart of a Filipino immigrant.

A selection from Moments With Mama, 2016


When friends depart and foes are nigh
When anchor’s far and waves are high,
I look up to the brighteststar
Which beams its rays for me to climb

When shelter’s gone and wolves surround
When darkness hounds and thorns abound,
I call upon the rainbow’s hands
To paint my sheath - my shield from harm

When arrows fly from all around
When lightning strikes close to the ground,
I ask the ever mighty sun
To pow’r my rods, those threats I’ll pound

And when I’m drowning from the sham
This world portrays as noble charm,
Up to the heav’ns I’ll raise my arms
And beg my God to take me home

A selection from Petals For Papa. "...promises made by those left behind as their loved ones find jobs in far flung lands"


Ribbons of love to you I’ll send
To make you grin when drenched with rain,
They come in all sizes and shapes,
In colors of a rainbow’s gaze

Green for my hope that you’ll return,
Red for our love that e’er shall bloom,
Yellow for joy and happiness
That pave our lanes till moon we pinch

Orange for hardships we’ll partake,
Purple for wisdom that we’ll rake,
And all the faint shades in between
For faithfulness that ne’er shall wane

If in your pocket one you’ll keep
No fear you’ll feel, my pray’rs it bears,
And should your face with frowns be creased
The ribbon will erase them swift

Each ribbon carries half a kiss
The other half, on it you’ll place
One every night, before you sleep
And in each other’s dreams we’ll speak

A selection from Gemma's upcoming book of poetry



I packed a suitcase full of tears,
As grieved I fled my field of birth,
Each bead engraved with memories
To warm my heartbeats’ wintry breeze

It wasn’t that I longed to leave
My Motherland’s loving embrace,
It wasn’t that I yearned to kiss
Another cheek across the seas

The seagulls’ calls I didn’t hear,
For giant Eagles sealed my ears;
The irises I couldn’t smell
For jessamines concealed their trail

Nor was I lured by promises
Of unicorns and rainbowed bliss,
Or whispers of a paradise
Where ne’er will I, bleed or perspire

‘Twas that, the universe conspired
With callous gods and cunning brides,
To twist the tendrils of my life
And hurl them t’ward the Great Divide

Resentfully, I felt defeat -
My ship was steered by fate’s dictates,
Reluctantly, and with unhaste
My tangled soul strings it would chase

I found my ribbons on a shore,
Where western winds sail unsecured,
And in my tear-filled chest they moor -
An anchor to my swaying soul

The earth has spun, many a time
Around the sun, since I’ve been gone;
Yet on this star-lined strand I stand
Still pining for my native land

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Top photograph by Filipino photographer Nikko Macaspac, illustration by Liia Chevnenko

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