The tears of a thousand suffering gods,
Like a dirge in the dead of winter:
Blasted meadows, wasted hillsides
Eroding into muddy bogs.
Like a throng of Russian women queued for bread,
Or a people herded at gun-point to an uncertain fate.
The morning was a smothered child,
Unwanted, whimpering with faint sunglow
At the morbid, murdering clouds choking it.
The earth was like the scene of a bloody battle.
I walked in the rain,
Not a light rain which revives and resurrects,
But a charnel, leprous rain which decays the ground it touches.
Slogging like a soldier through the mud,
I felt the sting of icy spray
Whipping me with cold contempt,
An SS officer machine-gunning Jews in the streets.
There was no church-bell in the distance,
No answer to the questions of a drowned spirit.
So I waited,
Waited for the rain to pass away
While I cursed it with every breath.
My curses seemed only an invitation for its taunts,
So I fell silent.
As the pour continued,
I gradually learned to breathe it,
Flow with it,
And when I had come at last to fear the daylight,
The rain fell away to reveal
The naked, raging desert sun.
George Chadderdon © 1995