After the Earthquake: An Old Woman Prays in Nepal

nepal praying

(in a ruined temple the day after the April earthquake)

Life smashed to ruins around her,

shards of centuries piled high to

bury treasured icons, chairs, and roofs,

arms and legs, as well as hopes

of mountain sunshine, it buried, too,

in all the dust that every footstep

stirs into the fragile air, scented now

with death and stunned to silence as the

earth continues to rumble and spit

black ashes over all the lifeless eyes

of both the living and the dead.


Yet the old woman clasps her withered

hands; bows her ancient head; accepts that

there are ways unknown to her, that

there is mystery in and beyond this strange,

strange thing called life; that powers

outside her grasp determine much of her

tomorrows and todays; she nods to them,

both reverent and perplexed.


A sparrow hops and chirps across the

waste in which the woman stands; she,

too, in time may sing again, but not today;

today her voice is only arid wind, a

wind scraped raw across the jagged

rubble of her soul; the sparrow cheeps and

chirps again; the woman bows again;

and I bow too—to her, to mystery, to

sparrow song of a God whose eyes hold

loving fast each tiny creature sifting through

the wonders and the terrors of our world

when mountains quake and shred the

patterns of our lives to dust.


4 thoughts on “After the Earthquake: An Old Woman Prays in Nepal

  1. Wow Carol, this is profound and beautiful and moving. Are you going to create a book of your poetry/prayers/ponderings? I encourage you to consider it. I would sign up to get copies immediately! love and appreciation Marchiene

  2. The presence of this woman–her stance, her courage, her humility–has stayed with me day after day. Blessings on your day, and blessings on all the days of this dear soul.

  3. Thanks, Marchiene. I have been so moved by this dear sainted woman, and just grateful I can pass along a little of my awe of her and of all she and others are living through.

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