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Magtanim ay di biro (English translation)

Planting rice is not a joke

English translation by Roberto Verzola


Come, dear fellow stewards of the earth,

Stretching muscles is good for the health.

Let us pause so we can catch our breath,

And then tomorrow back to work

Planting rice is not a joke;

The whole day you’re bent like an ox.

You cannot stand more than one a bit

Till you’re done you cannot sit.

Oh, my arms, the feeling’s gone;

And my waist, its tired and sore.

My legs feel a thousand pricks,

Soaked in water, six to six

Mornings when I wake and rise;

I tell myself to think, be wise

And pray to find some land to till,

So I can have a tasty meal.

What a cruel destiny

To be born in poverty

If I don’t work with my two arms,

I won’t earn a single dime