She had sought to bring good tidings
Seeing the photographs in magazines at Christmas,
the pleas to save the precious little ones
with a lamb, or rabbits,
or a tidy sack of seeds—
a child herself, she took these things to heart
and wondered at the partiality of God.
She had longed to minister to the ones
from whom surely God had turned away his face.
She would comfort all the children
and bring them food and faith
but when, at last, she was among them
battered, hungry, broken
the withered, silent babies
dying in their mother’s arms,
their empty eyes consumed her courage
and burned into her cheery,
Some spirit within her faltered,
her fingers trembled
and in her heart
she was afraid.
For all her prayers she could do nothing,
no solace offer, no relief.
She might simply brush the flies from babies’ faces—
pray to comprehend one day
the immensity of suffering in the world of men
and wonder at her favour in the eyes of God.