Reflections in the time of Covid-19: Island sunset and Planet Mars

Sunset in Tagaon, Batalay, Bato, Catanduanes. Photo by Alvin Ravalo

I welcome

This redeeming kind of sunset

In the island

So full of solace

Seen from a footpath of dry grassland

And a patch of ricefield

Illumined by shadows of trees

Under the fading sun.

It's been an excruciating day

With death and pestilence

Stalking everyone

For 12 weary months.

You have run out of grief

For friends and acquaintances

Dead or dying or recovering

Or waiting for extra bed

In hospital grounds.

Very little is left

Of what used to be

Your bottomless source of kindness

Bled dry by a cruel day.

Tears have become mute

or even useless

Even as an expression of prayer.

I like hanging on

To quiet sunsets in the island

Away from the big city.

When the sun fades

And the dark sets in

You hang on to this sunset

Hoping to reconcile

Grief and deliverance

As we greet

Another month

Hopefully free

From never-ending shades

Of gloom.

On looking at planet Mars on a restless night

Photo from

I like contemplating

The image of Planet Mars

Looking at its eerie surface

Taken by men of science

From Planet Earth.

I imagine strange breeze

Or a hint of air

On the rocky surface.

I imagine landing there

And contemplating

How Planet Earth looks like

From a distance.

Is it cold out there?

Is it virus-free?

Can music and theater thrive there?

I think of Planet Mars

As I watch a dance teacher

Look her ballet studio

For the last time

With the sound of music gone

And images of dancing feet

Replaced by eerie silence

In the rehearsal hall.

Can she actually move

To Planet Mars

And start a dance life

All over again?

Just today

Over 15,000 cases

In a day's time.

Can we actually fly

To Planet Mars

To escape total annihilation?

I like to hang on

To some possibilities

Of living another life

In another planet

Wondering what’s in there for me.

Planet Earth is too much for us

Late and soon

We are in the middle

Of endless grief

With uncertainties

Eating away

At our equanimity.

Can hope spring eternal

In faraway Mars?

Can deliverance come

From this marvel of science

Called Perseverance?

Once more

I am looking at Planet Mars

And will try to find

The answers.


VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Enrile sings new tune on same-sex unions

Enrile in 2016 rejected the idea of same-sex unions.

Different is okay, ‘The Wong Kids’ shows Deaf community

Harnessing their superpowers, siblings Violet and Bruce Wong embark on a space journey to save the…

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Enrile nagbago ng posisyon sa same-sex union

Mula sa pagsasabing ang mga pagsasama ng parehong kasarian ay "hindi natural," si dating Senate…

About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

Contact us

Email us at

Follow us