April 14, 2021
Poems

“Sweet December”

“Sweet December”

By Van Biak Thang
Chinland Guardian
23 December, 2008

(I) Before

In the clear sky blink the stars
And bright is the moon up afar
Quiet is the night in cold zephyr
With only there the dancing crickets

Up the hilltop gather people
Wrapped up in shared blankets
Still their lips shiver as they warble
With the guitar and the cymbal

Those in the house by the fire
Busy as bees making plain teas
And sorting out chaang by each member
Before down wafts the pastor’s sweet voice

Once the Police Bell strikes tinkling
Each and all sings and prays in greeting
Traces of smiles and joys on all faces
Then, come “Sweet December” wishes

(II) After

The night is quiet and the sky still clear
The moon is bright and the wind still cold
Why no crickets seen in the dancing floor
And the stars stop twinkling, though not old.

Yet there live people on the mountain
But no guitars are meant to entertain
And their lips and limbs shiver in fear
As a shared blanket can’t the cold bear

No lights and fire in the quiet house
Busy as a bee is only the preying mouse
And “Where are the chaang?” children whisper
As they snuggle and ease their hunger

Once the Police Bell strikes tinkling
Family in tears and fear sobbing
As each one recalls and prays for those away
Then, the marching sound comes on its way

(Chaang, one of Chin traditional food, is a kind of sticky rice wrapped up in banana leaves, especially served and eaten in Christmas times)

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