Lyric 17 by Jose Garcia Villa


First, a poem must be magical,

Then musical as a sea-gull.

It must be a brightness moving

And hold secret a bird’s flowering.

It must be slender as a bell,

And it must hold fire as well.

It must have the wisdom of bows

And it must kneel like a rose.

It must be able to hear

The luminance of dove and deer.

It must be able to hide

What it seeks, like a bride.

And over all I would like to hover

God, smiling from the poem’s cover.


Jose Garcia Villa (August 5, 1908 – February 7, 1997) was a Filipino poet, literary critic, short story writer, and painter. He was awarded the National Artist of the Philippinestitle for literature in 1973,[1] as well as theGuggenheim Fellowship in creative writing byConrad Aiken.[2] He is known to have introduced the “reversed consonance rhyme scheme” in writing poetry, as well as the extensive use of punctuation marks—especially commas, which made him known as the Comma Poet.[3] He used the pennameDoveglion (derived from “Dove, Eagle, Lion”), based on the characters he derived from himself. These animals were also explored by another poet E. E. Cummings in Doveglion, Adventures in Value, a poem dedicated to Villa

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