This spinning earth from time to time,
may turn my head
but, I dare not long neglect my duties –
too many who depend on me, eyes uncertain asking –
How are things on your side? Any news from up river?
Father shuffling toward another death,
mother befuddled with fear;
loved ones sent out daily to gather
fresh greens in abandoned minefields.
Whistle while you work, my Beloved advises,
but, keep digging.
The stench of death is on the breeze;
crocodiles at the watering hole,
only their eyes visible above the surface.
I keep an ear to the rail; gleaning
what I can from the shimmering air –
for my own files, of course,
but also, for loved ones
who keep asking for the truth
of rescue and escape.
I’ve little time left for puttering about,
arguing in the dark over elephant shapes.
O child of God, everything is in His hands and yet,
there’s much work to be done before winter sets in.
(from A Jewel in the Dust)