‘Prayer on Corona,’ A Poem Recited in 13 Languages

It started from a simple poem inspired by the challenges brought by the pandemic. But what started as a creative outlet for anxiety turned into a viral piece of art that spread across six continents and was translated to 13 different languages, Filipino included.

The countries which have contributed to the translation and recital of the poem are Sri Lanka, Japan, Philippines, Turkey, Zambia, UK, Denmark, Macedonia, Russia, Mexico, Ukraine, India, Ecuador and Bangladesh. The brainchild behind the poem is Mohammad Al-Masum Molla, a Dhaka, Bangladesh-based environmental journalist. Masum is a colleague I met during a United Nations Conference I attended in Ankara, Turkey on desertification and land degradation. An ardent steward of nature himself, he wanted to show the impact of humanity to nature, and how the virus today seems to bring Earth into restoration through reduction of carbon emissions. “In the days of social distancing, I thought people should be connected mentally to fight against the deadliest Covid-19. We did nature injustice in the name of so-called development. From that point of view, I wrote a poem on corona and requested my fellow friends and colleagues across the world to translate in their languages to spread the message,” Masum said. “It feels good that people are responding to it, people are sharing the poem to increase awareness. If one person becomes aware, the entire effort will be successful. Obviously my friends and colleagues deserved the big thanks for making the project successful,” Masum added.
As more people shared the poem in their networks, the poem quickly became viral and was picked up by various news organizations in Bangladesh. Below is the video and a full translation of the poem I wrote and recited in Filipino.
Mula sa mga eskinita na naging mga daan Mga daang naging kalsada Mga sambayanan na naging komunidad Mga komunidad na naging mga bansa Mga bansa na naging kontinente at higit pa Sa bawat singit may langitngit ng takot Takot na sumasakal sa buhay ng karamihan   Ngayon ang mga salita’y nawalan na ng kahulugan Bukod sa panaghoy ng pag-aasam na mabuhay Isang panawagan, pagmamakaawa na malagpasan Ang mga pagsubok na pinagdaraanan   Ang mga saglit gaya nito’y naiiba Naiiba, nag-iiba gaya ng panahon Takot ang namamayani sa puso ng isa’t isa Sino nga ba ang kaibigan? At sino ang kalaban?    Sino nga ba ang maliligtas? Pati ang mga bala at baril walang hatid na lunas Hiningang napapatid, naghihikahos Kung mamamaalam ba’y Walang kasiguraduhan   O ang mundo ay lumalangoy sa kawalan Patungo sa pampang, o nasaan?  Dagat man o lupa walang sinisino ang corona Ngayon walang ibang magagawa Kundi mag-hintay ng awit na makapagpapakalma Sa kamatayan at sa hinagpis na dala niya.

Editor’s note: Cover photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

[Entry 312, The SubSelfie Blog]

About the Author:

Sophia is the Global Editor of SubSelfie.com. She is also Editor in Chief and Outreach Manager for the Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal and foreign correspondent for GMA News. She graduated from the Mundus Journalism Masters Programme in University of Amsterdam in 2018.

She is the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Media Award given by the Media Correspondent and Volunteer Organization (MCVO) in The Hague, The Netherlands. She is a media fellow of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and recipient of 2016 Gawad Agong and Sarihay Media Awards for Excellence in News Reporting  on  the plight of indigenous people and environmental issues.  Journalism 2010, UP Diliman. Read more of her articles here.

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