poet's sanctum Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday – Tita Lacambra Ayala’s Road Map Series

Last Friday, we announced the launching of The Poet’s Sanctum here at GatheringBooks. For July and August, we are honored and thrilled to feature Tita Lacambra Ayala’s poetry.

Our feature also comes at a serendipitous time since yesterday marked the 30th year of Road Map Series, a “voice-in-the-wilderness publication” that is spearheaded and edited by Tita Lacambra Ayala.

This poster for the 30th Anniversary Celebration on 21 July 2011 was created by Tita's daughter, celebrated singer-songwriter Cynthia Alexander for the 30th Anniversary of the Road Map Series. I feel so bad that I missed this.

The Road Map Series (or RMS) has been decribed as a ‘launching pad’ for many aspiring writers. As of 21 July, there are a total of 83 issues in all which feature various authors, artists, poets, and budding writers.

For today’s Poetry Friday which is being hosted by Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference, I shall be featuring Madam Tita’s “Ordinary Poems – Being New Poems” originally published by Erehwon Publishing House in 1967 and recently republished by Road Map Series in 2011. This little booklet has a total of 30 poems in all with Jolico Cuadra writing the Foreword.

This booklet was given to me by Madam Tita herself when I visited her home nearly two weeks ago.

Since it is summer time in other parts of the world (winter though to our friends in Australia and New Zealand), I feel that Tita Lacambra Ayala’s Summer Song would be perfect:

Summer Song by Tita Lacambra Ayala (published in the book Ordinary Poems by Erehwon Manila, 1967, reprinted by Road Map Series in 2011)

That morning you opened the window
there was reverence in your face
and an April look saying:
there is none more beautiful
than the world waking up.
Since then you have become
too much part of summer,
of deep-breathing black coffee steam,
of hair wet from a swim nestled in pillows,
of naked footprint centered on polished floor.
Since then you have become
too much part of waking:
to sights I have been blind to
to sounds I never heard
and nuances I never could accept before you.
Now I am all music and if I remember
too strongly the beating of your breath
upon my hair, if I wish too much
you had not travelled out of touch,
pass this off as another fever
of an overactive brain.
Once in a while my year
should pass unnoticed, sparing me summer
the season that remembers you.

As I read through the pages, struggling to find another one that made me catch my breath in its lyrical beauty, I find it extremely difficult – all the poems move me in countless of ways. However, I must choose only one – to give you a teaser, a taste of Madam Tita’s sweetness, occasionally tinged with soulful darkness and enchantment. Here is Fragments:

Fragments by Tita Lacambra Ayala (published in the book Ordinary Poems by Erehwon Manila, 1967, reprinted by Road Map Series in 2011)

Burn bright as candle
column of rain
spoken for.
The Sphinx grew roots
where it stood or sat
roots so long they broke
out to the other sided globe
gathered and pounded out
into fibers to make a robe.
Be my lemon peel
be my drink
be the dream that drives me
the despair that wilts.
Nostalgia is a leaf
lying on a window
stain on a sheet
or a day’s weather.
If you think this encounter with you
excessive and deep
wipe it away with a rain of silence
or inanely remark
how long the day is.
Are you bright and early 
needle in the hay?
Are you lost for granted
at the break of day?
Turn your heart to candy
or a golden egg
or a bright sunflower
tattooed on a leg.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

6 comments on “Poetry Friday – Tita Lacambra Ayala’s Road Map Series

  1. Beautiful! I’m glad we’re spending more time with Tita Lacambra Ayala.


    • Hi Tabatha, I’m glad you have dropped by again, and thank you for hosting Poetry Friday. Yes, it is truly an honor for us to have Tita Lacambra Ayala in our pages here at GatheringBooks. She’s an extraordinary woman and poet.


  2. Pingback: Meet our Graphic Novelist, Featured Academic, and Poet for July and August |

  3. Thank you for sharing more about Tita Lacambra Ayala!


  4. Pingback: Here Comes the End of July: A Round Up |

  5. Pingback: Meet our Graphic Novelist, Featured Academic, and Poet for July and August |

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