Friday, March 11, 2011

My Father and his Forest of Desires

Today is my father's birthday and I dedicate this post in honor of the great man.

If Endor had its Forest Moon, Sofronio B. Galvan had his own Forest of Desires, a collection of his selected poems....

My father was a gifted writer who was a campus journalist and student leader while he was studying at the Arellano University. He won awards for his school  in essay and editorial writing contests up to the National level.

His passion however was poetry. Coming from a poor family in Allen, Northern Samar, my father, like most folks in the provinces, traveled to Manila in search of  fortune and love. He took on odd jobs (laborer, househelp, donut vendor) to make ends meet as a working student. What he lacked in material wealth he more than made up for with a treasure trove of experience, from which he gained inspiration for his poems. Poverty, angst, bitterness and frustration were his best friends.

Forest of Desires, published in 1969, was dedicated to my grandmother and my father's first love, Antonietta. It was a classic tale of poor boy meets girl from a well off family, a romance doomed from the start, a love that could not bridge the social gap.

In a fortunate turn of fate however, Forest of Desires was the same book that brought together my father and his future wife Amelia Galvan, my mother. My Mama, then a secretary of former Senator Dominador Aytona, collected love poems and it was a common friend who gave my mom a copy of  my father's book. The common friend introduced my father as the book's author and hooked him up with a date with mom. A whirlwind romance ensued, and led to Mama and Papa's wedding in 1971, a marriage that lasted for almost 40 years.

Here is a picture taken during my Christening in March 11, 1973, 13 days after I was born.

Papa loved watching movies, and one memory that I can vividly recall was seeing Star Wars for the first time on the big screen with my Papa. With his mane of white hair, I could not help but compare him with Master Obi Wan Kenobi, originally portrayed by Sir Alec Guinness. Papa was man of few words, but when he spoke he was full of wisdom. He best expressed himself through prose and poetry.

My Papa passed away this year, January 8, 2011. During his necrological service I read the poem below which was his last entry in Forest of Desires:

Happy Birthday Papa! You are now one with the Force, and your spirit lives on in your work and in our hearts. We love you!

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