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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