Note Ten to Vladimir Putin and a Re-Phrasing of The Twenty-Third Psalm

Leaving the body and soaring
like a drone,
flying just above the bombed buildings and seeing
the child’s hands,
the woman’s boot,
the smashed cornices,
the gilt of a chalice,
the torn faces of Madonna and Child on an orthodox triptych,
the maps,
the lost sonnets,
the single eyeball staring up at what might be a bird,
the loose pages and pages and pages
of text, of story, of history, of mathematical equation,
and now comes your threat
of nuclear annihilation
in perhaps a repeat of Hiroshima,
with a single church standing,
where you
even you
will be rendered to naught
in that extraordinary silence
at the ending of days.



The Creator is our guide,
we shall not harm.
We kneel in renosterveld.
We are led to the small spruit.
Our souls are restored at the flowering botterbos.
We are led in the path of righteousness
for the sake of Peace.

Yea, though the cities are bombarded
and the shadow of death falls
we fear no evil, for we discern Light.

The wild olive comforts us.
A table is prepared in the presence of our foes
and we dine together in forgiveness.
Our heads are anointed with the sap of aloe.
Our cups run over with the juice of hanepoot.
We shall seed goodness and mercy,
in the way of tumbleweed across Karoo,
all the days of our lives,
putting aside revenge
and dwelling in the house of Peace


IMAGE: A Ukrainian serviceman takes a photograph of a damaged church after shelling in a residential district in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
TEXT: © Patricia Schonstein

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