Pantoum for Jien Ji

by Judy Abrams

There was a time when I could cry,
cried when my heart was full of pain,
when beggars lifted hands for alms
I jotted down sad refrains.

I cried when my heart was full of pain,
when news showed refugees in camps,
I jotted down sad refrains.
When I saw abused orphans on the screen,

When news showed refugees in camps,
I changed the image to stop the pain.
When I saw abused orphans on the screen.
I turned my head, but wiped a tear.

I changed the image to stop the pain.
As deaf panhandlers silently asked for help
I turned my head but wiped a tear.
Now I’ve lost the gift to grieve.

As deaf panhandlers silently ask for help
I no longer write to still the pain.
I have lost the gift to grieve.
But there was a time when I could cry

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