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?

11 Comments

  1. Well, I AM a self-appointed judge of poetry and have to say this is one artful piece of work. You had me at the opening line, F. As to the meaning, thank God the Christian faith was never a declaration that Christians were perfect, but that our God is and that He justified His crazy love for them on the Cross.

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    1. No, I agree no-one is perfect. This is more of a challenge I think. Do we live in our own little cupboard nations and shut the door hoping everyone will just go away, or do we accept we live in one world that belongs to all of us equally, whether Christian, or Muslim, or Buddhist; whether rich or poor, white or black. Have we any right to take and not give?
      If we agree to that, then our ten percent of charity is an insult, rather than a help, and when the poor man comes to us (as I believe the Christian bible exemplifies somewhere) we should let him in and treat him as our own. Not an easy thing to do, given the differences we have to make up.

      Like so many of the great civilizations of history; Egyptian, Chinese, Greek, Roman; we draw our riches from impoverished lands. We kill and we conquer for money and power. In the end, all these civilizations have crumbled and fallen because of that one fatal flaw.

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  2. I like your poem Frederick – it is well written and very engaging. And I like your challenge. It seems to me that many so-called Christians embody all that true Christianity is not, and yet they preach to non-believers as if they alone have all the answers.
    It is disheartening to see the extent of intolerance towards those who flee from war and famine to other countries. So many people feel threatened by these refugees and yet we do so little to help them in their own countries. It will remain forever a problem I think.

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