RETURN OF GRACE (A fragment)

by Luis Dato

By nearest chance, one day, I stood before
An altar by the meeting of the ways,
My young heart, heavy, sighting as of yours,
Filled with the nausea of the present days;

How long ago, and how impossible
It seemed to bridge the world with my heart’s cry;
I knelt and prayed beneath the ancient spell
Of faith and youth I feared without to die.

Long had I lost, nor missed my loss of grace,
With wrong I wallowed, intimate with sin,
When as I browsed with folly face to face,
I saw a flowered coffin ushered in.

And then, O miracle, to me was clear,
The folly of my wish, the empty haste,
For Thou alone endured whose word to hear,
I turned away to find a desert waste.

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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