Little Prayers

Written in response to the attacks at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre, Christchurch, 15th March 2019


Let the closing line be the opening line

Let us open ourselves to grief and shame

Let pain be felt and be felt again

May our eyes see when they cease crying

Let the closing line be the opening line


Let the seas storm, let the hills quake

Let us inspect what makes us ache

Let there be tasks we undertake

Let us make what we can make

When the seas storm and the hills shake


May the rivers and lakes and mountains shine

May every kiss be a coastline

May we sing once again for the first time

May the children be home by dinnertime

May the closing line be an opening line



Bill Manhire’s Selected Poems are published by VUP in New Zealand, and by Carcanet in the UK.