Wednesday, February 1, 2012

El Hombre Que No Sabía Llorar (1939)

One time when he was twenty years old, while studying for his Bachelor’s degree at the Ateneo, Silvio came across a book of poetry in English entitled First Leaves , by Rafael Zulueta de Costa, a young professor of De La Salle College.

One of the poems began: “Tired of myself, one day I made a child sob … He did not cry; only men cry… ask the night. But from this child’s heavy eyes the tears gushed…”

Incredulous, Silvio read and re-read those lines, but he never comprehended them. It must have been a printing error, he said to himself. Some editors are stupid at times. He would have wanted to say: “… only women cry…”

In one of the gospels of the seven o’clock Sunday masses at San Beda Church, he heard the priest say: “Blessed are those who weep, because for them is the Kingdom of the heaven.” As if he had not heard. Silvio said to himself; “These words are incomprehensible to me. Heaven is not gained by tears. Only the strong of heart enter it.”

And the months and years passed. Life that is so good showered Silvio with so many problems, disillusionment, and humiliation. But even when he was grieved, he did not cry. His friends saw him crestfallen, but his eyes were always serene and clear. Tears, your name is woman… and weakness.

As if is the fate of all man, sons of Adam, Silvio fell ill and died.

And nobody cried. He had friends are relatives who liked and appreciated him, but no one cried. It was not that they did not want to. Others even made superhuman efforts to do so… always one cries for a departed friend … but they could not cry for Silvio, because Silvio never cried for anyone.

And how many Silvios are there in this world who do not cry, that have never cried, that do not want to cry?

During the burial of Silvio an old woman was heard mumbling: “Those who cannot or do not want to cry, have mercy on them, Lord.”

Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero

Sabatino de la Vanguardia
February 25, 1939

Translated to English by Pilar E. Mariño

Link to Spanish Version

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