Aftershock – Two Poems

1) for Aotearoa / New Zealand

God is not in the earthquake,
and God is not in the landslides,
rockfalls, terrible rains,
aftershocks, tsunamis.

God is in evacuators of Kaikoura,
the people of courage
in Christchurch – barely re-built
from the last time.
God is the companion
of those who flee their homes
facing floods in Wellington.

God is in the symbolic rescue
of two stranded cows and a calf.
God is a triage nurse
in Wairau hospital,
and God puts on a hard hat
and climbs into a front end loader
for the dirty, long,
unlikely to be newsworthy,
work on roads and homes.

God is also, as Elijah discovered,
in that cave so long ago,
singing in the voice of the tui,

who repeats what it hears
for those who will listen to aroha.

2) for the United States

I am hunting for news of Aotearoa
for I have many friends there,
and I read online
about all the aftershocks,
and the damage
from aftershocks yet to come.

So I begin to reflect
on our election here
and the shifting of tectonic plates
that is Trump’s presidency.
Today’s aftershock
is the white supremist Bannon,
but there will be many more
yet to shake the ground
under our feet.

Then I think –
that’s what went wrong with us
in this country. Like me,
we see everything
in terms of our needs,
our well-being,
and that is how this happened.

I go back to praying
for all who suffer in New Zealand,
for those who rescue,
and those who need rescue.

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18 Responses to Aftershock – Two Poems

  1. Thank you Maren – your compassion for the world is awesome. I know you are willing to share your words so I will forward this to a network of contacts throughout Aotearoa.

  2. Elaine Bolitho says:

    Thank you Maren, from soggy, shaky Wellington. The sun has just come through the clouds as I read your first poem.

    I had just sat down to write the prayers for Sunday’s service – theme – decided a month ago by our Worship and Education Team – Who is God For you? So be assured your poem will be shared at Ngaio Union on Sunday morning.

    Halfway through November we have had 4 times our usual November rainfall for Wellington – slips, landslides all over the place, but nowhere near as bad as the South Island. The aftershocks go on but decreasing in number and strength. The Wellington Cathedral of St Paul had its amazing organ very badly damaged by the first quake but the building is structurally sound. However it has had to close until further notice as the multi-storey building next to it is likely to collapse as the land beneath it sunk, breaking structural beams. Damage is still being assessed all over the city, all over the country, as the quakes were felt from North Cape to the Bluff.

    I love your beautiful insight about the tui. They sing in our garden – I’ll hear them with new ears now!

    Thanks and blessings,

    Elaine E Bolitho

    56 Box Hill, Wellington 6035

    Home Phone (04) 479-5352

    PS Allour family andfriends are safe and well – onedaughtder had a very lucky escape on Saturday – going home with her family after the launch of my new book ‘War Stories From Khandallah With Love’ – a tree,it’s roots loosened by all the rain, fell across the road in front of them – car covered in mud, but not a scratch or dent and the shaken family were uninjured. We give thanks to God.

    • Maren says:

      Oh, my goodness — what an escape! We really get so very little southern hemisphere news here that it is hard to piece together except on the Internet. Congratulations on the book. That is wonderful! Is it available electronically?

  3. Pingback: Two poems for Kaikoura, 14 Nov 2016 – NZLPA – New Zealand Lay Preachers Association

  4. We have included your poems on our page – thank you for them, and for putting them “out there” so all may read and pray and remember …

  5. Matila Anne Amani - Rotorua Methodist Church says:

    Thank you for the wonderful prayers. Our people here in Aotearoa really need a lot of support through prayers. Greatly appreciate your thoughts.

  6. Pingback: Earthquakes in NZ and the USA - some reflections - MethodistNorth NZ

  7. Rosa Faafuata says:

    What a good way of spreading God’s love to all who are in shaky conditions, reminding them that God is always with them no matter what. Thank you for your support.

  8. Rosa Faafuata says:

    What a wonderful way of spreading God’s love to those who are in shaky conditions, reminding them that God is always with them no matter what.Thank you for your support and prayers.

  9. Trish Harris says:

    Your words and warmth bring comfort and a sense community across the sea. Thank you! No damage where I live, just rattled nerves and the fear that comes from knowing our land is a movable feast.

    • Maren says:

      Glad you are safe. I wish we actually received more news of you. It has to be something terrible before our media covers anything even in the southern hemisphere. We have to go hunting on the Internet.

  10. Jill White says:

    A colleague at my secondary school in Christchurch, New Zealand, shared these poems this morning at staff reflection (we are a church school). I found them very moving. I particularly like the image of the tui. That image of God’s small voice to Elijah is a favourite of mine, and now you have given it a feeling of Aotearoa. Thank you!

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