Poetry at Sangam



PORTRAIT OF MS. ANNE SOLESBY by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta

          (As Fernando Amorsolo)

          “The women I paint should have a rounded face, not the oval type often presented to us in
          newspapers and magazine illustrations. The eyes should be exceptionally lively, not the
          dreamy, sleepy type that characterizes the Mongolian. The nose should be of the blunt form
          but firm and strongly marked…So the ideal Filipina beauty should not necessarily be
          white complexioned, not of the dark brown color of the typical Malayan, but of the clear
          skin or fresh colored type which we often witness when we meet a blushing girl.”
          – Fernando Amorsolo


                 She believes I am smiling
                 at the bougainvillea flowing
                 behind her. She believes I am fetched
                 by the slant of her black riding hat.
                 But I’m taken less by her grace
                 than the whiteness of her dress;
                 the way it recalls mama’s second-best
                 table linens—not the prize of her trousseau,
                 not the one we kept for guests: the one rimmed
                 with wine and burnt with cigar ends, the white
                 of our mistakes. Decades later, I still hear her cry,
                 Mind your manners, Pintita, you are missing the point
                 Of something so fine.