A Trail of Smiles:
Clay and the Acehinese Children

***

He walks beside them, in the sunlight,

Where scenes of Hell and Heaven blend,

Where sea waves rest, to contemplate,

And broken lives begin to mend.
 

Today, a teacher, on a journey,

(How very well he fits the part);

As tiny angels dance and sing,

So many voices own his heart!
 

His footprints mark the sandy shore

Where, once, a tranquil homeland stood;

The tall man begs the Lord for grace -

He’d chase the demons, if he could.
 

‘Midst echoes of unfriendly tides,

The light of hope brings brighter days, 

And all this kindness and regret

Is manifest in gentle ways . . .
 

A smile, a hug, a tender touch,

Unspoken whispers on his breath;

The chants of joy, familiar sounds,

Come shush the haunting dirge of death.
 

For, he has taught the lesson well -

It’s God’s delight to see him there,

Amidst his sun-drenched, seaside class,

This pale-skinned man with auburn hair.
 

He walks beside them, on a beach,

Where nature hurled the prize she stole,

And ghosts that will not be erased

Are etched, forever, on his soul.
 

Oh, I believe the angels hear

His song rejoicing o’er the miles -

He carries all their burdens home,

To leave, behind, a trail of smiles.
 

© 2005 Sue Cori Friedman



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