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Grief Sequence The South Wind Returns
by Simon Tang
09/11/05
Not For Sale


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I knocked at the convent gate -
There the footprints of my past
Linger; I have been here before,
By the prints there I saw.

No bars at the door, nor knob,
Just a hole to gaze through
Until warm air flowed out
Of the cloistered hall.

I spoke of wrath impending
And of world coming to an end
Which in me seems as if
My heart was torn in threads.

There the door of the sacristy
From where I have come out
To serve the liturgy at dawn
When mild and jubilant I was.

But I tremble in the sun
And strictly weigh my tongue
For the dead now hearken me
And the living adjure me.

The book is thrown open to me
Through the iron bars where I see
Trumpets and fanciful wings
Across a stricken land.

I see an angel clothed in ash
Speaking to me, with her face
Half hidden from view, while
Behind the grates I trembling wait.

Once when I was a child
I did visit your sanctuary
With my Father and all
The tribes that came from him.

Morning arrived with dark shroud
Of mourning, for one of my
Kin, wearing black sign
Upon the lapel of his dress.

I carried the book before me
And would have read for him
Who has passed away, but fear
Of stealing the sacred mood woke me.

Upon the cushion of his sleep
His head rests like a piece of
Wasted coal, with tooth of thorns
Protruding from the dark cage.

Whereupon he speaks - his tongue
Of black pulp as if thirst is worse
Than death, and he hungers
For what he can no longer consume.

As his time draws near, where
Angels with wings take him,
I slip my treasured cloak
Around the spine of his scapular.

The angel, through the cloud of
Immense darkness, reveals to me
That the book I carry is the
Book of Life, but need I speak?

I groan like the lamb in pain
And rain must fall, causing the fire
To extinguish itself. I step off
Fatherís side, and drench it all.

He removed the shelter from me
As he took me to the School
Of Benediction, to be sent
Thither alone on my own.

Gone was the garden of our
Childhood, the path to
The hill, the forest
Where our prayers were hidden.

Dear angel, frightful
And serene, never reveal to me
Your untarnished countenance,
Of grace, your portrait of youth.

But your voice had not changed
All these years, the voice of
Immortal love, remaining the same -
I heard it only with my ears.

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