A Lament for Sri Lanka

23 April 2019


A Lament for Sri Lanka

Claim neither pride nor personal cost

for the prayer offered far from the unknown slain.

Hearts that beat uninterrupted

beat not with those so suddenly stopped

mid psalm and tortured pain.

Tears that streak across our cheeks

or even fall to ground

reach not shattered glass bloodstained,

nor indeed gather at hospital bed hastily arranged;

for silence there was the only sound

with lifeless limbs quietly crying in vain.


The Gloria and alleluias of our songs, sing not of Jubilate,

and cannot work their once claimed magic,

not when paralysed prayers of prostrate pilgrim

reach beyond anything we could ever imagine.

Our eloquent sermons and compassionate posts,

form endless fantasies of shameless affinity,

but quench not the thirst,

nor satisfy any hunger

of orphaned child and widowed intercessor.


Not even well-meant words convey,

with sufficient believability,

the plainchant of silenced tongue

and perplexed stare of mystery.

They spew out and fall,

on soon-to-be deafened ears


until, with all

an echoing cry goes out:


Why must this song be sung again?

And again and again and again?

Why did their morning of resurrection

end in sorrowful mourning of dejection?

Why was the unlocked door

through which our Saviour strode

be open at all times too

to one bent on evil intent?

Within that fragmentary moment of light

doubt not that waiting in those wings

is a carefully disguised design

of well-crafted darkness

and for certain vile grime.

Place not then your finger in frail flesh side

but consider those, all those,

from which the soul departed in time.

And doubt no more,

doubt not that hurt is without some gain.

Nor dare you doubt anymore that precious sanctified stigmata,

yes in unsearched-for sacrifice, for certain,

but in earthly dust, this gathering dust

we find One of a pure and heavenly Divine.



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