Paradise Lost

 

 

grayscale photo of baby feet with father and mother hands in heart signs
Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on Pexels.com

I am kiwi born, the massacre of families in a Christchurch Mosque reached deep into my childSelf  that still retains vestiges of innocence.  I thought about the freedoms I was privy to, wandering the streets on foot and bike, disappearing for hours with mates ,challenging our bodies and the neighbourhood.  The only significant tragic event I could recall was the sinking of the Interisland ferry Wahine in Wellington Harbour in 1968 . A doosy of a storm that sent us home from school before it even started , of power cuts, ferocious winds and lashing rains.  A tree crashed onto my bedroom window bringing the fence down with it but not breaking the glass. Dad clung to a ladder with hammer and nails in an attempt to keep the roof on the carport.  Mum and I huddled together under blankets with my little transistor radio listening … many things went wrong for the Wahine that day when it met Cyclone Giselle and another stormfront at the entrance to Wellington harbour. The radar was disabled, it hit Barrett Reef, the starboard propeller broke, the hull got a hole, the port engine stopped and not all life boats could be utilised- 51 people died as a result. 

The sweet time of innocence and the brutality of the world I live in today, this I am grappling with – Paradise lost . In March of this year at two mosques in Christchurch as a result of  human hatred and blame 51 people have died.  Our poetry group held a vigil at Well Thumbed Bookshop, Cobargo and these two poems are my attempt ……

We are the same

Who claims to not know hatred?

to be all love and light,

who does not know the taste of hates dark arrows

or felt the spiked tongue of revenge.

Our confusion is many layered,

we cannot comprehend this heinous act

this violent crime,

shocked beyond comfort

silenced by despair

families are murdered

while in sacred prayer.

 

We struggle to understand

thrash around for probable cause

seeking blame and explanation

reviewing history policy and laws.

 

We are the same

you and I

you with your black face

your squint eye

your head scarf

your tats and piercings

your gender changes,

you with your faith

pagan catholic

jewish muslim

pentecostal faithless

you, all of you

we are same same .

 

Blood flows thru my veins as yours

we are born of Earth and return to Earth,

we breathe the same air,

we had mothers, fathers and cousins

milk teeth and porridge,

the same Sun looks down upon you as me

the same Stars light up our night sky and

the Wind comes for everybody.

But you,

you that has fostered hostility in your heart

cultivated malice in your mind,

you that dared to use your god given hands

to tear apart precious lives

you cannot be the same.

Mercy is not for you

we have much in common

this is true

except this

this vicious deed.

You are dead to us now

you extinguished your light

discarded your humanity

your kinship to us.

We turn our backs on you

open our hearts

to a community in mourning,

for all the lives ripped apart

we offer comfort and healing love.

there is no solace for you

because while hatred may visit we choose to desist,

we choose to care, to love and to hope,

we choose to Not Act with malicious intent

to not ever forget

that we are all kindness and all love.

amen

 

A stone thrown

One beautiful Friday

in a summer season beside the river Avon

when heads are bowed in devotion

and children dressed in their Sunday best

an evil appears and lives are taken.

Inside the mosque, a holy place

the community has come to pray

a walking nightmare holding a gun

shoots again again and again

blood, broken bodies and screams fracture the sacred day.

A stone thrown casts ripples in the pond

forcing us to confront the baseline of our kind,

the vindictive beast of hatred

festering in hearts carved with malevolent intent,

a long dark shadow spreads over Aotearoa and beyond.

Is forgiveness even possible?

this act paralysed our compassion

cast doubt upon empathy

cracked our hearts

eroded peace of mind

interfered with understanding

and uncomfortably reminded us

that some people

do not care for the children as we do.

The stone thrown casts ripples

this atrocity repeated

in many lands by evil hands

and we wonder how we can make this better?

And so we pray,

we pray that all people return to Honour and Respect

to Loving Kindness and Good Intentions.

we pray

we reclaim our humanity

reforge our Love

and rekindle the Flame of Divine Light within us all.

 

amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

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