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eight-year-old." The following lines from an earlier episode are touched with musicality that appropriately accompanies the verse’s freedom and lucidity:

“I have touched you like I touch you Like I touch you with these words I touch you, with these words I see You fanged by the rising tide Of darkening history, there O yes There in the deep deep belly Of the behemoth the volcano

Raging with afterwars, afterthoughts, In the later memory doomed By the vibrations in angelic throats. In time there shall be no time, In no time there shall be the time, And the knee like a camel’s bone Breaking breaking breaking, A thunder howl in the possible space, All that is willing will The holy water of peace.”

The lines chime in with Jose Garcia Villa's ideal of a poem that is

Q: How did you conceive of the Ten Thousand Lines Project for World Peace? What is the significance of the number 10,000, or why have you chosen this length?

EC: The initial plan was 100,000 lines but I immediately realized that it’s mortally impossible, at least for me. I settled at 10,000 lines as target. Eventually the num- ber would become the metaphor in itself. The entire epic attempted to mirror the entire universe, including glimpses of parallel universes. It attempted to embrace human reality and parallel realities. I could have dwelt entirely on the concepts of love and peace, but then, the act of writing the epic is in itself an act of love, towards the possibility of peace.

Q: Poets usually treat the concept of “peace” as some- thing that is socio-political in nature. Yet in the poem you begin by treating peace as transcendent, as if you began the work after some sort of celestial revelation. What was it that inspired you or influenced you to begin Ten Thousand Lines with such metaphysical intensity?

EC: It’s hard to explain, but when I write a poem, I enter a meditative state. I become the eye behind the eyes. I let the soul flow into words, the soul that is wordless becomes words in the act of poetry. In writing an epic about peace, words are incidental, and although inci- dental they become the visible proof of the existence and motion of what is really invisible. The paradox is thus achieved: my non-verbal and invisible soul conversing with your non-verbal and invisible soul through the art of poetry, that is both very sonic and very visual.

Q: It fascinates me how this paradoxical communica- tion not only bridges two "non-verbal and invisible" souls, but also puts them into communion. I notice that this sort of connection occurs not only between the poet and the reader but also between the differ- ent personae in the epic's vast mythology. In Set 5 it is between two sun-birds while in Set 6 it is between you and nature. Later on you will also speak of just you and the road. Are these just a coincidence, or is it because, as I understand it, for you the "You" and the "I" are the microcosmic equivalent of universal union and sym- metry, and thus, harmony? Just how important is this relationship of the "You" and the "I" to the primary theme of the epic?

EC: We are never really alone in this world. In our indi- vidual journey, one may be alone, but in truth, he is never alone. Someone is always watching. As writers, we write for someone, even for the Muse. We imagine our audience, we approximate their thoughts, their feel- ings, their looks, even their prejudices. This communion, this relationship, is an incident in our parallel existences.

It gives us confirmation, a sign, a signal. We are each other’s angel although oftentimes we tend to not notice it. The moment’s angel may have not realized it either, until in some future time, he remembers, or he’s made to realize it. This is not a coincidence, it is part of a pat- tern, and it is part of the framework behind the design. What we can touch and see and hear are mere sur- faces of the pattern. We are really connected one way or the other. We are all in here together for a higher purpose, to serve a higher reason, as testimonies and evidence of life’s beautiful truth. We are all in motion, we are all in the hour, and we are all moments leading to the hyper-moment.

Q: While apolitical, the epic seems to contain a few references to topical incidents, for instance allusions to the desert and to two lovers who end up victims of war and terror. Are these allusions general or do they pertain to specific events which actually occurred?

EC: I wrote several allusions on Osama bin Laden in the epic, as it may be worth noting that when I started writ- ing Ten Thousand Lines, he was still very much alive, in hiding, even threatening and plotting his next attack.

Did you know that Bin Laden wrote poems? That was one of my primary motivations, to send a message of peace to him and his minions through poetry. I was working on the second quarter of the epic when he was killed. It frustrated me, not because I don’t want him to be stopped. I wanted to hurt him and hopefully trans- form his views through the beauty that I see. There is so much more beyond the political, this world has so much more going on than the political; so much truth beyond the commonplace war strategies.

Q: Indeed it was sad that Bin Laden used poetry as a means of gathering followers - sad that such an art was exploited to serve a belligerent agenda. Nonetheless, do you mean that his death deprived the picture of a warrior-poet who could have been an instrumental key as the major persona who could be confronted by a peace poet?

“Poetry is more than measure, cadence, and rhyme. Like an architect who sketches a building design, a poet draws his destiny with words. Words are very pow- erful, more powerful than people often think.”

magical and "musical as a seagull."

Cordevilla is not new to writing long verses – take it from his works The Last Rose and Jose Rizal. Yet in the Ten Thousand Lines Project for World Peace there is an organic and spir- itual beauty visible in its spontaneous progression that makes it among the most memorable literary pieces ever written about the subject.

-Cordevilla PAGE 40 ∙ Year I ∙ Issue #1

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