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The Letter

Today is the day of trial by ordeal
no longer the counting, the wait
Today is the day, that marks the brow
Blessed son of God or mark of Cain
Thirteen long years to stand the test
so many years to find the key
The door is before me, the pit awns below
my brow will be marked for all to see
The letter will come, sheathed purely in white
the words stare starkly in black
too late for the prayers, no miracles now
the tide cannot be turned back
Mothers will pray, but the answer is set
Fathers will stare at the wall
The bright rosy future, the hopes and the dreams
cannot be assured to them all
Who will receive the dark mark of Cain?
those destined to join the queues
Who will avoid the dark mark of Cain?
The favoured, the privileged, the few
The prayers have been loud, these last thirteen years
but slowly the time slipped away
Don't ask the question, the face says it all
For none can avoid this day
The letter sits silent, no hint of its news
Unopened the dreams can continue
But dreamtime must end and the price must be paid
Please God that I'm one of the few
That letter appears like the Angel of Death
Some houses it passes on by
On others it falls, like the wrath of God
Sentencing dreams to die
The letter is here, the answer is near
Will I join the end of the queue?
Will I be condemned to the end of my dreams
or be one of the favoured few?
The letter is here, the price is dear
Innocence laid bare on the altar
The price is set, it cannot be changed
Nothing is left to barter
Please God, I'm not marked with the dark mark of Cain
Condemned to the end of the queue
Please God, I'll avoid the dark mark of Cain
And join the favoured, the privileged, the few

by Kathryn Griffin

Anyone who has ever had to wait for that important letter to arrive will understand the sentiments of this poem.  Originally it was written to refer to that life shattering letter that arrived several weeks after your final school exams, known as your Higher School Certificate (HSC) results. You had to pass the HSC to be able to go on to University.

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For comments or questions, email Klah.
Last updated: May 25, 2005.