Friday, March 9, 2012


The following is really a Lenten hymn, but I call it poetry because songs are often poems set to music.  Unfortunately, nobody knows the melody to this song anymore.  So the danger is that it will be ignored forever.  This is my attempt to preserve it, at least as religious poetry.

I Yu'us na pastot yan i pastorå-mo
ina'agang hao, taotao, mågi as Tatå-mo.
(The God who is a shepherd, and your shepherdess,
are calling you, O man, here to your Father.)

Si Yu'us Lahi-ña, gaige as Maria;
nihi ta falåggue si Jesus yan guiya.
(God the Son is with Mary;
let us run to Jesus and her.)

Tiempon minañotsot yan i piniti-ta;
nihi ta fa'gåse gåsgås i anti-ta.
(It is a time of repentance and our sorrow;
let us wash clean our souls.)

I ta fa'aila' hit - ennao ha' fa'gås-ta;
gi halom i Haga' Jesus i Ma'gås-ta.
(To accuse ourselves - that is our cleansing;
within the Blood of Jesus our Lord.)

Yagin i mañotsot humuyong pinite,
ti siña ma konne' nu i manganite.
(If the repentant becomes contrite,
the devils cannot take him.)

Gi mañotsot-ho, hågo ninangga-ko;
Nånan Mina'åse' yan i guinaiya-ko.
(In my repentance, you are my hope;
Mother of Mercy and my love.)

Interesting Words

Pastorå-mo : Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd.  Mary is called in this song a shepherdess.  We had to borrow the Spanish words for shepherd (pastor) and the female form of that word (pastora).  There were Chamorro men with the first name Pastor, some of them named after a Spanish Capuchin priest who was stationed on Guam before the war, Påle' Pastor de Arráyoz.

Mañotsot : Means "repentance" or "regret."

Fa'aila' : Means "to accuse."

Yagin : An older form of yanggen.  It means "when," referring to a future, expected event and thus sometimes means "if,"  because the future is not certain.   It is formed by two words : ya (and) and gin (when).

Ninangga-ko : Means "my hope."  "Hope" is ninanggaNangga means to "wait," and theological "hope" is a waiting with faith and certainty.  When someone talks about the future death of someone, I sometimes hear them say, "Ti ilelek-ho na hu nanangga ennao!"  "I'm not saying I'm hoping for it!"

Is this the melody Påle' Román had in mind?

Påle' Román often did a helpful thing in his Lepblon Kånta (hymn book).  He would cite the name of the composer, or the original title of the song, which had been translated into Chamorro.  For the above hymn "I Yu'us na Pastot," he cited the Spansh song "A Misión."  This was a traditional Spanish hymn calling the people to a "mission."  A "mission" was a series of sermons and devotions, done over several days, with the purpose of stirring up the religious fervor of a particular parish or town.

Thanks to LB for his usual perspicacity in catching what lies hidden to others.

1 comment:

  1. Hope is not lost. I have the music for this piece in Spanish... the melody isn't as easy as those of the rest of the Kuaresma selections.