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12a

I have never known whether or not I could write poetry, so this category may remain impoverished, or short-lived, if my followers are honest in their opinion. But there are times when verse seems to help express a need. This is one such time:

Christian

Christian, where were you in the sun time
When our feet tramped hard on beaten clay?
Where were you when the militia came
To sweep our land of the planted seed
And take our hopes away?

Where were you in those squalid aisles
Of spoil and waste that seeped with death
Between the tents and junkyard piles
You forced us to reside beneath?
Did you weep as you passed by?

Where were you when the trader came
To knock upon our rusted door?
Our daughter’s price – two bags of rice,
And though we will never see her more,
Do you know the man he sold her to?

Where were you when the warlord spoke
With the lead you sold him from the guns
You gave in the name of foreign aid?
Or when cholera took my wife and sons
And laid them in a nameless grave?

Were you in your church then, praying on those contrite knees?
Thanking God for giving you your life of Christian ease?
Or were you at your keyboard posting your donation
Your ten percent of pittance, of holy absolution,
Making your down payment on real estate in heaven:
Is that where you were?

To you I know I am nothing more
Than some problem on a distant shore.
You care not for my extremity
As I, bereft of all once dear to me,
Seek my fortune in some leaking boat
And a last dream. At least, it matters not –
Until that boat, that dream survives the ocean’s roar
And brings me, penniless supplicant, to your door.

Then, true and loving Christian man – where will you be?

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