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Poem For A Prime Minister

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(Dedicated to my mentor Dr. Akbar Ahmed)

One marvels at Jesus Christ’s

Timeless achievements

Even though he possessed

No worldly power

That was bequeathed

To Ceasars of his time


But while today their mention

Leaves us unmoved

Jesus still lives on

In every living heart

Like stalks of golden grain

Surviving bouts of rain


I sometimes wonder

How Jesus Christ would figure

Were he a woman

Instead of being a man

And the answer came

On the Fifteenth

Of March, 2019

From Christchurch where

Worshipers were liquidated

With lethal gunfire

In a pair of mosques


Perhaps he would resemble

Jacinda Ardern

Like the sun resembles a lantern

Prime Minister of her country

The home of Kiwis but also

Christ’s own habitation

Whose one dream

And only passion

Was for human dignity

To shine forever


Prime Minister, your presence,

Overtures and demeanour

Were like balms

Healing our sores

We mourners began to sway

Like an array of palms

In springtime breeze

Reaching our shores


When your parliament

Commenced its memorial session

With Koranic verses

Promising divine blessings

To those torn by grief

Who turn to God

With unwavering patience

And when Bilal’s prayer-call

Was lofted toward high heaven

In you realm


I simply bowed my head

Thousands of miles away

And began my day

Uttering the Pater Noster

To myself:

Our Father in Heaven

Hallowed be Thy Name

Thy Kingdom come

On earth as in heaven

Give us this day

Our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

And we forgive those

Who trespass against us

Lead us not into temptation

And deliver us from wrong


You, enlightened leader

Of a lighthouse land

Have melted

Not just hearts

Frozen with pain

But also blown away

Ancient ice mountains

With a warm breath


You have lit

Interfaith’s lamp

With unfaltering pluck

And proved to the hilt

That peace can be built

On flowing springs of love

And compassion’s water wells


Your one trump card

Of transparent tenderness

Has triumphed over

Hatred’s many trumpets

Ejaz Rahim, one of the leading public intellectuals of Pakistan, is a prominent poet and author. He has served as chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Cabinet Secretary for the Government of Pakistan.

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