“Tell me, María Clara, tell me daughter of a sad country, is it true that you have died, that everything has ended?”
María Clara looked at me for a long time: in her eyes gleamed that blissful childhood that the pale muse of Rettée knew.
“What do you say, María Clara?”
More silence. No word flowed from the lips of the spiritual virgin. All the anxieties awakened like an outburst of rebellion in my breast…
“Talk to me, María Clara, talk to me.”
And María Clara smiled sadly with an autumnal and ephemeral smile, and then she extended one of her white hands to me, hands like lilies and silk, hands of love and piety.
“No,” María Clara has told me…” I cannot die. I am the spirit of my race, of your race; I am the incarnation of all the sadness, of all the glories, of all the happiness of the Fatherland. I live in you, as I have lived, as I live, as I will live, if you do not betray me, nor forget my good words.”
Oh, yes. The words of María Clara were really very good. They were very good.
“I am not going to betray you, I am not going to forget what you tell me.” I have answered her. “Look at me, I am my old usual self; a bit more sad and more bowed with life’s burden, it is true, but always at your side; always loving you like my own mother…always yours! Only in this way will we be able to save ourselves, attain glory and crown ourselves with laurels.”
María Clara has not answered me, but she has placed her right hand to her breast and has given me her heart;
“Take it,” María Clara has told me, “it is my keepsake for you. I gave Rizal that hear; I wish to give it to all Filipinos… With it you will be great, strong and triumphant.”
“And the danger, and the hand armed with steel? And the deep abyss and the inaccessible summit?”
“None of that exists,” —María Clara has answered—“when the will is ready, when the intentions are true… I will know how to encourage you. Follow me. Do you not know that my kisses give life?”
The dream vanished, and from then on I have followed María Clara — shadow of love and poetry — along the sad path of life.
And María Clara has kissed me.
Fernando Ma. Guerrero
El Renacimiento. Manila
29 de diciembre de 1905