Translated by Martha Cheung 1991
Caught in the rain I seek shelter in a church, and find in its solemnity people deep in meditation, others working. For how many years have you been here? How many wars have you been through and how many eras of peace? How many uprisings and suppressions? Did homeless, travel-wearied people receive protection here? Have the supplicants been granted favours? Have their wounds been tended?
I shiver in the cold. You don't seem to have heard my prayer. Your four walls are mottled, the ancient stories have turned into reliefs, in the flickering light and shadow your magnificent stained glass windows conjure up eerie tales of the accidents and inevitabilities of history.
Outside, it is still pouring. In the ruins made of skeletons animal or human, on maps marked with wound and scars, amidst walls half taken down and walls newly built, in the subconscious overgrown with twining seaweed, I visit battles started by clashes of views, and massacres incited by bigotry.
I wipe away the rain on my nape, looking for a place to sit down for a rest. Such cold, dismal weather is indeed ideal for meditation. Are you tired too? You don't answer, perhaps you don't hear me. The vacuum-cleaner is too loud. You are engrossed in your morning cleaning.
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