Prometheus Unbound

The poem Prometheus Unbound was written by Jose “Pete” Lacaba under the pen name Ruben Cuevas in 1973 and published in Focus Magazine, a pro-martial law dictatorship newsmagazine. Pete Lacaba is a poet, screenwriter, journalist and former political prisoner during the Marcos dictatorship.

The poem is an acrostic poetry in which the first letters of each line when read downwards transmit a message different from the rest of the poem. Thus, with Prometheus Unbound, the message is MARCOS HITLER DIKTADOR TUTA (Marcos, Hitler, Dictator, Puppet).

I shall never exchange my fetters for slavish servility. ’Tis better to be chained to the rock than be bound to the service of Zeus.

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound

Mars shall glow tonight,
Artemis is out of sight.
Rust in the twilight sky
Colors a bloodshot eye,
Or shall I say that dust
Sunders the sleep of the just?

Hold fast to the gift of fire!
I am rage! I am wrath! I am ire!
The vulture sits on my rock,
Licks at the chains that mock
Emancipation’s breath,
Reeks of death, death, death.

Death shall not unclench me.
I am earth, wind, and sea!
Kisses bestow on the brave
That defy the damp of the grave
And strike the chill hand of
Death with the flaming sword of love.
Orion stirs. The vulture
Retreats from the hard, pure

Thrust of the spark that burns,
Unbounds, departs, returns
To pluck out of death’s fist
A god who dared to resist.

Ruben Cuevas