Unreached Network

Hard Stories: Processing Devastation in Poetry

First posted on middleeastnews.org.uk, a blog contributed to by westerners commentating on living life in the Middle East. Follow their blog for interesting stories, poetry, recipes and applied theology. 


There are many times when we have heard devastating stories from people’s lives.   I have been learning how to respond with love, faith, empathy and compassion.  Writing poems helps me to reflect on these times and bring these situations to the One we hope in.


I don’t know what you’ve seen with your eyes

touched with your hand

felt with your soul

I don’t know of the pain, heartache and grief that surrounds you


You look at me

eyes brimming with tears

desperate and searching

the words of your trauma just roll off your tongue

and hit me


Is it consolation you want?

a way out?

an antidote?

I can’t do it habeebti, my love.

I’m as helpless as you


I can give you some “majaamale” some niceties

A smile, a touch

But they will just fall empty

into the chasm

the ache in your soul

like a black hole

a bottomless pit

it goes on and on


You talk of great trauma 

and your eyes, your eyes

those deep wells


My words are empty

falling away

Like leaves in the dead of autumn

blowing away


But then I turn my ear

I listen to the one who speaks life

Who breathes life and makes new

Whose voice is the sound of rushing waters

Whose words fall and remain and soothe

that penetrate the darkness

The words that bind wounds and bring life

The words that drip in healing oil

That fill the chasm

That dry the tears

The words that penetrate the darkness

Gentle whispers that bring forth galaxies

words of truth that weave new garments

I turn

I remember and listen

I speak His words

and there is hope.