that descends in all quietude on the place
where once a great house stood
that has gone up in flames during the night,
leaving whisps of smoke curling to a soft morning breeze
and, underfoot, littered invisibly
among charred, fallen timbers, glowing embers.
Or as Job, having finally fallen asleep
where he lay alone in the ash pit scraping his sores,
abandoned there by his faithless wife
who had mocked him, ‘Why persist in your blamelessness?
Curse God, and die!’ is suddenly awakened
in the dark night by the almost inaudible voices
of argumentation going on somewhere
in the blackness above him
between his advocate Yahweh and his antagonist,
one claiming to be a son
(or could it have been a daughter) of God,
‘No! He only serves You
because You supply all his needs!
Desert him, and see
how he will curse You to Your face!’
What must be fulfilled will be fulfilled.
The fruit of pride, rebellion and apostasy
remains on the tree a little longer.
Then, without warning, for not having been harvested
its loathesome weight bows the tree down
until finally it splits, exposing light, living wood
within the fissured bark
of the ravaged trunk and branches.
The tree will be cut down, savagely,
by a relentless axe, neither the evil fruits
nor the pain of wrath will be remembered henceforth.
Only the fresh, hopeful sprigs arising
from the otherwise barren stump will bear witness
to what could have been,
will follow the sun in its course,
as He draws them up to Himself.
Saviour of fugitives,
Christ our God,
have mercy on us!