Out where the wild vines spread
Upon the winding walls,
I hear melodious madrigals
And music from the dead.

There where the grasses hang
Their canopy of leaves,
Which oft at dawn receives
Matins the mayas sang,

Where peace holds solemn sway
On mounted mossy squares,
Where panting thoroughfares
Are heard, but far away...

There will I sit and sing,
Far from the tramp of feet
Upon the crowded street,
And dream of crown and king.

Old walls now mouldering
In quiet, silent ease,
They knew not then of peace
When glory was their king.

They tell of a long-lost reign
And love-forsaken beauty,
Of sentinels on duty
With musket and with wine!

Of war and wrathful fight,
Of surging mob and crowd,
Protesting clear and loud
Against the law of might.

Of pirate Limahongs
That raided towns and coasts,
While vengeful hordes and hosts
Were shouting war-time songs.

Of sailors bold and brave,
Of buccaneer Van Noort,
Morga, who sailed from port,
The Spanish flag to save.

And of the years before,
When king was Soliman,
Whose rajah blood outran
To free his native shore.

Here once they help parade
Of saints and flaming torches,
Where now are crumbled churches
And convents all decayed!

Ah, walls that totter must,
Walls of pride and of power,
Living their day and hour,
Only to go to dust!

Walls, olden, ancient walls,
How many memories
And dismal harmonies
To mind your presence calls.

From Manila: A Collection of Verse (Imp. Paredes, Inc., 1926) by Luis Dato. This poem is in the public domain.