Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Prayer For The Dying

(On the occasion of two friends’ passing)

We hardly know;
we’d have to go
to places far from us;
to other lands
to understand –
or hidden hovels,
near at hand,
dark with poverty,
within our land –
to see the truly dying.

Hospice,
thank God –
a grace unknown
in meaner streets –
has come to bless
our dying;
aid our grieving;
provide an art
of comforting
as ancient as
the enemy itself.

But God alone
must comfort bear
to those who die
without the aid
of hospice.
In war-torn streets,
disease infested huts,
filthy prison cells;
on mothers’ breasts,
on rotting mats,
they die without
the comfort
of that other
ancient art.

Draw near,
o God,
and hospice
bear to them;
hear their dying prayers;
receive again
their breath to thee.

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