This Leave-Taking is Tentative

(For Consul Susie Natividad)

Recited at the despedida party of Consul Natividad, Waipahu, Hawai`i, September 27, 2007.

Today’s allure is a stubborn sun setting.
It is a miracle moment we make to celebrate
What memory can afford to give.

It is this laughter, singular and peculiar,
Is fleeting, the image forever in the nooks
Of dreams that live on, leaving us too soon.

We count the hours, the days, and the minutes
And we can only end up in goodness: the soft touch
Of the wind on the face that searches for the familiar,
Say the shrine in our hearts where the angels
Go to rest, count the blessings, account the good deeds.

It is the same with each one, we know.
Even consuls bid goodbye and we see that now,
And even as we lick our wounds
The song of departure begins.

The pilgrim begins to take the first step.
She is here ever seeing us, her thoughts at home
Her heart abroad or so we believe.
She watches for the sand and surf and sun
She carries in her pocket or writes in her books.
But she looks for spring stones, summer soil,
And autumnal seasons marking her going away.
She remains among us, the consul will.

We recall the chirping of birds on Pali,
On the top of trees hugging on to the forgiving mountains
Giving birth to the sound of stories we need to tell
Now as in the future or in the forever-ness of sweet songs
We keep. After this day is another story.

The leave-taking begins. Let it begin.

Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Ph.D.
University of Hawai`i at Manoa
September 27, 2007

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