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Scene Two



(Morning three weeks later. WAN is in his room packing his few belongings. A knock on the door. YANG enters.)


It is true
That the weeks have passed so quickly
And that you must leave us so soon?


Yes, old friend,
I must leave.
How can I ever repay you
For the hospitality
Of your temple?


There is no repayment.
If you have found
Here, within our humble monastery walls,
What other men search for
All their lives,
Then we of the temple
Are proud.


I swear, Yang,
If someday
I should become the poet of the capitol---
How I pray that if only for Meilan---
I shall never forget your kindness.
Goodbye, old friend.


                                                            (shaking his hand)
Goodbye, Wan. (As WAN exits through the door with his belongings, MEILAN appears from her house. THEY meet in the center of the garden.)
It is time?


It is time.


I am pretending it is not so.


I, too.


But you must take the examinations.




I have never been to the capitol.
Perhaps someday I shall go.


It is not the place for you.
The capitol is not the place for you.


I would not know that
Until I had been there.


Then someday I shall take you. (THEY stand silently looking at each other. Then MEILAN rushes into his arms.)
I cannot say goodbye.


My Meilan,
What can I say?
What can I tell you
Of the weeks we have spent together?
What can I say
Of the willows by the western gate?
What can I say of my love?


I need no words.
The way you hold me
And gently touch my hair
Says more to me
Than all the poems
In the library of my father.


My heart fills with love
Like the distant river fills
When the rains come.
My heart fills with love
And it flow into my arms
And my lips
And my tongue.
It flows into you.
Oh, what would I have been
Had we never met!


Do not speak so.
It was fated.


If I had never seen you,
If you had never come to my room,
I could fly back to the capitol
As easily as a swallow.
But now the road appears as a vast sea,
And I do not have the power to cross it.
A lonely road leads to the capitol
And I must wander along that path,
And I must walk under the willow trees
And over the petals of jasmine
Into a gray chilled desert.
The road to the capitol is lonely
And I must leave behind the one I love.


The road leads back,
For I am here.
The temple stands,
And I shall wait.


The road between the temple and the city
Is long and narrow.
There is no sunlight,
But the road between the city and the temple
Is shaded
By the wings of butterflies.
It is warm and yellow
And it leads back,
Back to the willow trees
And the scent of jasmine
And the one who waits.
It leads back to the one who waits. (A last lingering kiss. Then HE breaks the embrace and rushes off. MEILAN stands, gazing after him.)