Read the entire poem here at the Poetry Foundation.
For generations, the Ivatan people of the northern Philippines have been singing Laji, a unique and ancient verbal art that combines melody with poetic language. It is traditionally recited in social settings, such as pre-wedding conferences, wakes and courtship. The playful and complex lyrics capture the communal spirit and the cultural knowledge of this remote indigenous community.
But today, the tradition — and the spirit and linguistic diversity it embodies — is in danger of vanishing.
Learn more about the Laji Project, which documents and promotes Ivatan poetry.