A still small voice, the crumbling earth lies silent – a poem after a devastating earthquake.

A still small voice, the crumbling earth lies silent  - a poem after a devastating earthquake. 

A still small voice, the crumbling earth lies silent,
a baby suckled at her mother’s breast,
feels flesh grow cool as she lies quietly dying,
no comfort now, no warmth, no earthly rest.

And where is God amid this dust, these ashes?
Is this God’s plan, this random, rancid death?
Where is the blessing in these crumbling buildings
where silent bodies drew a final breath?

The dust, a pall, obscures the teasing sunrise.
See, dawn’s temptation to arise, to wake.
But this dishonest call is, empty, hollow
to any who’ve survived this this night, this quake.

What now? The still, small voice still quietly questions:
there is no consolation for this pain,
but mid the dust and rubble of this carnage,
humanity might rise in hope again.
©Andrew Pratt 7/2/2023

The day after the earthquakes in Turkey, Syria and the surrounding regions.


I was recently reminded of this poem from the book Poppies and Snowdrops when I was told of its use at a funeral…

You love him. That's why you feel like this. That will never change.
Without you he wouldn't have discovered life, enjoyed learning, driven you crazy as he strained in adolescence to gain his independence while needing you more than he would admit, or you could know.
And he still needs you, in spite of his death.
In death as in life, he is your child, to be remembered with all the love you ever had for him,
with all the frustration he brought you,
as well as the joy and privilege of parenthood.
Love him still.
Always love him.
Talk about his birth, his life, his ups and down
Talk of success and failure.
Talk of love and frustration.
Talk about him.
And never, never let him go.
He is your son.
He was and is and always will be.
The joyful pain of knowing that will live with you forever.
Every day you will picture him,
hear his voice
and ask the unanswerable 'what ifs'
until that point when it registers that,
in spite of all that has happened
nothing, but nothing,
can separate you, or him, from God's love.
Even now you are still a uniquely valued child of God.
God hurts with you,
cries with you,
holds you,
enfolds you with love.
And you are safe.
Nothing can harm you anymore.
Your memories are safe and the love in which you are held is eternal.
So rest, my child, in that love of God that will never,
but never, let you go.
© Andrew Pratt