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ONE DAY A BISHOP

No atheists in foxholes
my friends,
when death is strutting about
mere inches from your face -
Hui the priest staring it down,
promising hope and Christ's sweet grace.

Armed only with love
and his father's word,
bringing succour and blessing
to kneeling soldiers,
eternal life promised in covenant
by bullet shredded bamboo.

Calling down the spirit's grace
to the wellspring of fear,
hovering in the background
and always in the minds of the men,
playing the ultimate game
of steel and flesh.

The Maori priest, Hui,
casting his mana cloak,
and quietening down
the awful uncertainty,
reflected in the dead hands
erupting from the earth close by.

Yes! The man calling the comforter
down to the barbed wire,
and tracer lit nights
of man's inhumanity to man -
and he was always standing there,
the totara of peace and a friend.

John A. Moller
Whiskey Two Company RNZIR

 

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