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Harvest Moon Festival

Mother,
your unworthy son is older now
than you were when I took my leave of you
for the last time,
and it seems my hair and beard are whiter
than my father's when he died.

Mother,
I have heard that after my elder brother, the priest,
was taken away by the communists, you found refuge
in the house of your god-daughter Johanna
until you died,
but were you laid in a coffin?
Were you provided with a grave?
I do not know,
and I cannot picture your burial-place,
to my greater grief.

Mother,
today is the festival of the Harvest Moon,
they say a million people have left Seoul
to go and venerate their ancestors' tombs,
while groups have come from Japan and China
for the same purpose,
but I just attended a Requiem Mass this morning
and now, sitting here absently
at the window of my study,
I am gazing up at the clouds as they drift Northwards.

Oh mother.
Mother.