Toy Factory

Today is “Black Friday” and so shopping for Christmas is now in earnest! Stores are crammed full with both goods and people and many will make their way back to their cars with arms laden with gifts which will soon be wrapped and then unwrapped. Toys played with until they are broken or the battery runs out! I write all this to try to find a way to introduce you to a disturbing poem by Charles Simic. He was born in Belgrade at the beginning of World War II, and moved with his family to USA in 1949. He was awarded a Pulitzer Price for his poetry in 1991. Many of his poems refer, literally and figuratively, to his memories of the war. His words are sobering and often chilling. Day by day we become more aware of how awful war is as truth reveals the torture and inhumanity of war in the Ukraine. Ponder Simic’s lines and I trust they move you to prayer and trust that prayer will lead you to action for peace.

Toy Factory
My mother is here
And so is my father.

They work the night shift.
At the end of the assembly line,
They wind toys
To inspect their springs.

Here’s a mechanical
Firing squad.
They point their rifles,
They lower them.

The condemned man
Falls and gets up,
Falls and gets up.
He wears a plastic blindfold.

The china doll gravediggers
Don’t work so well.
The spades are too heavy.
The spades are much too heavy.

Perhaps, that’s how
It’s supposed to be. Charles Simic from Against Forgetting ed. Carolyn Forche

Holy and loving God,
in so many places,
in so many ways,
our world is bruised and broken.
Holy and loving God
in so many places,
in so many ways,
our fellow travelers and pilgrims
carry the scars of war on their body
and in their mind and heart.
Holy and loving God
you are the parent who forever waits
for the prodigal’s return
so today help us to turn toward you.
Help us O Lord
to beat our swords into
and our spears into
pruning hooks.
May we no longer learn war anymore.
Comfort the suffering
give courage to the fearful
and may love triumph over war.
Holy and loving God
in so many places
in so many ways,
show us a new way forward. Amen.

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