April is the cruellest month, breeding/ Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain./…What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow/ Out of stony rubbish? —T. S. Eliot, I. The Burial of the Dead, The Wasteland.
(A Song for Lent)
Apres la Deluge, the bird scoured the land laid
waste by wrath descended on the people of Yahweh
who now praise the promise of a rainbow: a pot of mercy
lies there somewhere, somehow, however late or little.
A mourning dove skimming the treetops flies off
toward the sunrise, its wingbeats counting carrion below:
when temblors rock them out of their careless stupour
and the sea claims them all back to a womb of tomb,
they still stare at darkened skies and pray sunbreak
will rip the pall fallen on the land and let roots burgeon:
He will not preside over the slaughter of the innocent,
lest a horde of cherubims storm a deaf heaven.
Quite like the ruptured land below, the dove steams up
to a growing rainbow at the foot of a muted Golgotha,
and rush a morning whistle, a lament of a prayer really:
let them feel once again a caressing hand outstretched
on the tree planted on the hill of skulls, let their screams
jolt this son of man that he might scour the wounded land,
that he might cry Abba, Father, why have you abandoned
them? Like the mourning dove, that he might bring the sunrise.
—ALBERT B. CASUGA