distracted by the antics of sun and clouds
sashaying in and out, around and under each other
it was the quiet that eventually stopped me mid-stride
no wind whispering in the pines
no cars on their hurried way
no people walking the dog
exchanging greetings as we pass
no chain saws, leaf blowers or hammers at work
even the birds have silenced their song
gone off to seek shelter from the storm
that is soon to come

what of those for whom there is no shelter
places that have offered safety become targets
collateral damage dismissed by outrage
human shields left unprotected
in the very places they seek refuge
with bulls-eyes on their backs they run for cover
when there is no cover certain to stand

the sparrows find shelter under God’s wing
not so for too many of the children of God’s heart
is that just the empty echo of ancient lullabies
is there any shelter to be had for them in this world
any reason to sing in an existence turned toxic
where are the hands to put skin on the promise
stand the timbers and stretch a tarp
fill a bowl and bake some flatbread
offer a simple, precious cup of clean water

is it naive to dream of a world
where children have enough to eat
can rest in peace
rise to a morning when sun and clouds distract with their play


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    • Anonymous on November 28, 2023 at 3:33 pm

    So beautiful.

    • Dawn Shippee on November 28, 2023 at 3:34 pm


    • Anonymous on November 28, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    Profound, devastating and beautiful. Alice, thank you for bearing witness and calling us to do so also.

    • Tim on November 29, 2023 at 4:54 am

    This is painfully beautiful and true, Alice. May we each find a way to contribute to sheltering. Hope you’re well – your writing, as always, goes straight to the heart – thank you!

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