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Chapter 1
Santa Cruzan 
Raechelle Yballe

The timelessly sweet fragrance  
Of the carachuchi flowers  
Invaded the air and my senses,  
Overpowering the unbearable stench
Of the insalubrious market.  
The procession trudged on.  
Crowds lined the sides  
Of a pebble-strewn dirt road,  
Eager to catch a glimpse  
Of this majestic pageantry.  
The children -- clinging  
To tattered and faded skirts  
With vise-like grips -- hungrily  
Looked on with awe and envy.  
The salty breeze quietly greeted  
This holy procession.   

The gown of white silk softly swayed
With each tired step I took  
Caressing my sun-burned skin.  
Who was I to don this  
Immaculate garb and walk beneath  
A white-washed bamboo frame  
Bejeweled with fragrant blossoms  
Resembling Iris' arc en ciel?  
The haphazardly fastened sash  
Announced that I -- I was  
Princessa sa Kaalam  
Princess of Wisdom.  
Yet I -- I was unworthy of this title  
A child but eight  
And Life's bitter Hardship  
Had yet to teach me her lessons.

Raechelle Yballe (1991)


Princessa procession
Yballe photo collection
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
News & Announcements
About the Poets
Additional Reading