October 31

Roy Aragon

Roy V. Aragon (born October 31, 1968) Phillipines (Ilokan) poet

Read more about Roy V. Aragon in this Kritika Kultura 28 (2017) article
about Ilokano poets
(download pdf here)

Invitation of July

by Roy V. Aragon
translated by by JL Lazaga

Memory nimbles like the brisking of the smell of
the scent of vapor of freshly made black coffee.
Or the steam of rice newly drawn out of the pot.
Or the aroma of dinengdeng during cooking time
in the afternoon. Diffusing, spreading, it moves and penetrates
like the arrival in July of the sweet rustic stench of rain,
the breeze, the northeast wind, and even the fragranced
stink and putrid of storm that frequently intrudes.
So do not say that you do not know the summons of memory.
How could I even yet put out the blaze
and heat of the ember in the hearth which you have buried in ashes?
I tell you: not a sprinkle, not a drip can extinguish.
The papaya fruits which we plucked with a bamboo pole from the tree
of whoever planted it, which we secretly dipped in vinegar, are yet to ripen.
So are the still maturing sarguelas, lomboy
and bugnay which we used to sprinkle with salt and shook in the hollow of plate
and bowl.
Did you think that if the page is torn from the calendar
every thirty-first of July, that I will also shed you off
into the silence of rice being waiting to be cooked thoroughly
which is placed against the embers on the furnace of the open earthen stove?
Don’t say: the whirlwind will pluck my mangoes while they are still the size of eggs and cannot hope for some to ripen in any of the bamboo baskets.
That I should just once and for all pick and be content with those ripened by the sun.

Poem continues on the last page of here

Watch a student documentary about
 Roy V. Aragon

Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean (born October 31, 1955) U.S. journalist, nonfiction writer – The Orchid Thief: (2000)

Read more about Susan Orlean in this 2019 interview here

Susan Orlean talks about finding things to write about

John Keats

John Keats (born October 31, 1795) – English poet

Read more about John Keats here

Watch a short biography of John Keats