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Emma Ruth Pesonen

Honorable Mention: 2015 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100

About this Poet:
Born in New Zealand, I grew up in Vanuatu where my parents were missionaries. The first poem I wrote was about the loss of home when my family moved to Australia, I was 9. We moved back and forth. I now live in Finland with my husband Tom (who has Finnish heritage) and our three beautiful kids. We work here with YWAM but mostly I spend my days with our youngest, almost 3, brave adventurer and cook and clean. Occasionally I catch a moment to write down words.

About this Poem:
During our move to Finland from Australia we stopped over in Bangkok for a few days. We were blessed with the gift of staying in a great hotel by friends but I was confronted by and thinking about the life of the vast majority of the poor and vulnerable in Thailand while we were there. This poem came during one of the afternoon storms while I was sitting at high tea, drinking Earl Grey.

In Bangkok

Why the cicadas scream so loud
before the monsoon
I’m yet to see
when it’s not green or the sky is black
with rain and hope.

The trees do their before –the –storm dance.
The music, wind with soul and backing thunder claps.

We landed here in transit.
Your reasons
a still small voice
quiet in the storm.
Is luxury a test
of something?
There's no such thing as blessing
to be kept.
But resting, I do, in You
You give good things.

I think, I feel, I listen
voices rise like drumming rain.
Does one pay to be served?
Or does the servant pay?

You see
every little soul
every whimper breathed in heavy air
You hear
every girl owned
every boy possessed
You carry
in your heart
every heartbeat broken.

Here luxury and depravity
wealth and poverty
eat each other.

It’s all emptiness and meaninglessness
but then you called out to the one
“It is done.”
Sealed and signed on a bloodied line
bought back and redefined.

They have seen the dry with their own eyes
and know what rain means
under tin roofs and behind rice sack walls.

With the monsoon covering your feet
and the sweat running down your back
You would be there
beside a woman or a man
a child
cradled in your lap
and you would have the answers that they need
and your presence
a full-stop and capital.

Not just sipping earl grey at high tea
from 2 till 4,
where you are Jesus
in Bangkok.

Copyright ©2015 Emma Ruth Pesonen