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Morning Song Of Senlin

 from Senlin: A Biography 

It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning 
When the light drips through the shutters like the dew, 
I arise, I face the sunrise, 
And do the things my fathers learned to do.
Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops Pale in a saffron mist and seem to die, And I myself on a swiftly tilting planet Stand before a glass and tie my tie.
Vine leaves tap my window, Dew-drops sing to the garden stones, The robin chips in the chinaberry tree Repeating three clear tones.
It is morning.
I stand by the mirror And tie my tie once more.
While waves far off in a pale rose twilight Crash on a white sand shore.
I stand by a mirror and comb my hair: How small and white my face!— The green earth tilts through a sphere of air And bathes in a flame of space.
There are houses hanging above the stars And stars hung under a sea.
And a sun far off in a shell of silence Dapples my walls for me.
It is morning, Senlin says, and in the morning Should I not pause in the light to remember God? Upright and firm I stand on a star unstable, He is immense and lonely as a cloud.
I will dedicate this moment before my mirror To him alone, and for him I will comb my hair.
Accept these humble offerings, cloud of silence! I will think of you as I descend the stair.
Vine leaves tap my window, The snail-track shines on the stones, Dew-drops flash from the chinaberry tree Repeating two clear tones.
It is morning, I awake from a bed of silence, Shining I rise from the starless waters of sleep.
The walls are about me still as in the evening, I am the same, and the same name still I keep.
The earth revolves with me, yet makes no motion, The stars pale silently in a coral sky.
In a whistling void I stand before my mirror, Unconcerned, I tie my tie.
There are horses neighing on far-off hills Tossing their long white manes, And mountains flash in the rose-white dusk, Their shoulders black with rains.
It is morning.
I stand by the mirror And suprise my soul once more; The blue air rushes above my ceiling, There are suns beneath my floor.
It is morning, Senlin says, I ascend from darkness And depart on the winds of space for I know not where, My watch is wound, a key is in my pocket, And the sky is darkened as I descend the stair.
There are shadows across the windows, clouds in heaven, And a god among the stars; and I will go Thinking of him as I might think of daybreak And humming a tune I know.
Vine-leaves tap at the window, Dew-drops sing to the garden stones, The robin chirps in the chinaberry tree Repeating three clear tones.

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