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Shema
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Shema

The hidden sound, the spell under the tongue,
Hints of our truth revealed. Behold, Shema:
A doorway opens from a dwelling of despair
To speed the fate of birth and teach
To wear death’s sudden mask.

The bodies of our ancestors, eroded by disease
Unnamed and unconfined. Vital organs inflamed
By domestic plague, blamed on foreign clime.
Limbs torn by canon, severed by sword,
Lives cascaded into waters, in armour drowned.
They carried in their recessed minds
A fragment of the sound, beyond the language of their time.

The colleges, hunched passageways of stone,
The worn and lettered tombs by which the students pass
Libraries rebuilt on wooden beams
In the sunlight of stained glass.
Illuminated minds renew
The stunted frames of ancient words:
Their syllables extend
Towards the hidden sound.

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