Rodelio and Rohelio

~12th Place Editor’s Choice Award

‘Rodelio and Rohelio’ won 3rd place the ‘Level 3 Advanced’ section of the FaithWriters writing challenge. USA 2011.

Also to read the lovely comments and critiques that this poem has received, read the original version at ‘FaithWriters‘.


Rodelio and Rohelio
part 1

In a Cebuano village
under palms, papaya and poverty
Rodelio and Rohelio
twin boys arrived in this world
innocent and free
bound in their fate

In a culture and class
where family survival
depends on healthy men
a rumour escaped
from their hessian hut
that Rodelio was beautiful
and Rohelio had club-foot

Shame and pity shrouded
in humidity and midday sun
forced Rodelio’s Dad to flee
flee to the joy and the glory
of a anxiety free
solvent tin

And me
the Joe, the white man
driven to prayer
through anger and injustice
driven to action
motived by faith
and western values

I stormed off to my doctor
told him the story
of twins born in a village slum
absent Dad, passive overwhelmed Mum
and a kid who will bring humiliation
without income or food

In a nation where affliction is normal
and goodwill to all is all too expensive
my doctor said ‘treatment is possible
but only with money’
I had faith, earnest faith
and only faith

Again we laid hands on the infant
pressed our prayers into the throne room of God
God was listening, just not answering
wounded and determined
I carried my expectations
off to the city council

Poverty ain’t precious
on a Filipino island
and the poor are paralysed
by the predicament of their situation
money moves men
and my pockets were empty
of coins and prayers

Prostrated and pain-stricken
ardently I soldiered on
to the mayor’s office
I poured out my passion
and drowned him in my sorrow
until justice was led to victory
and God got the glory

Rohelio at three days old
was going to visit the capital
sleep in a hospital
and would bring home
years of fish and rice
for his loving mother
and inebriated father

Anger subsiding, praise magnifying
justice given to a poor wean
by a God whose very child
was born into the malady of a manger.

Rodelio and Rohelio
part 2

I was earnest and sincere
loving God
obeying his call to serve the poor
and if I lived in
Liverpool, Lyon or Los Angeles
maybe here this montage could have concluded

Rohelio returned from his undertaking
wearing a healing, itching plaster-cast
the fear, pressure and all night screaming
cast the die of fate one more time

His dad returned
there in the absence of glue,
the bedlam of flowing tears
and the resulting sleeplessness
he ripped the cast off
and pronounced that this was
‘the divine will of God
for his son to have club-foot’

He might have been right
he might have been wrong
but when the boys are old enough
to slip and slide
around in the communal water pump
Rohelio will be watching
and slipping further into poverty

Rodelio and Rohelio
part 3

Rohelio, the divine will of God
is for there to be
no more death, crying and pain
for you to bathe in the waters of healing
and bask in the fountain of life
wait for your miracle
and wait for Christ’s return

And then and perhaps only then
you can explain to me
just what happened.

Thank you so much for reading ‘out for lunch’. If you would like to contribute, please do. Thanks Kel.

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