Early Morning Seminary

By Vernice Wineera Pere

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    We are spectral figures

    in the black predawn.

    Speaking only in muffled tones

    we brave the thick frost of the parking-lot

    and negotiate the darkened chapel

    to meet in our classroom

    as beings seeking company

    in some small cave.

    Lights on.

    The furnace sporadically

    coughs warm air

    into our conversations,

    and you raise slow hands

    to answer my probing

    of your sleep-starved senses.

    I, in turn, interpret all your yawns

    to my instructive needs

    and perceive the glimmer

    of the spirit in your eyes

    that urges me to give my best

    while yet wondering

    whether it is at all worth it.

    Then comes the Sabbath,

    and you declare testimonies

    to the Lord

    before the ward

    that wring tears from my doubt.

    I, with the congregation,

    observe your youthful grace

    as you repeat convictions

    I recognize from class.

    O my young friends,

    I know then, with God,

    it is indeed worth

    my small effort.