God, I pray for a voice like the tui,
so I can speak, not to others, but with them,
adapting erudite language
or insider jargon,
to clear words
and compassionate ones.

I don’t want to lose who I am,
but gain a second blending voice box
for my pastoral prayers
and prayers by bedsides,
for sermons and street protests
and for reading a child a book
with onomatopoeia of the heart.

Help me be the one
to make the effort to be understood,
in my church, community, family,
and not expect others to work
just to learn how wildly and widely
God loves everything,

including the tui with its own voice
and its gift to speak as others do,
resting in a tree of red beauty
by a sea that is deep.

Place me in leaves and salt wind. amen

My photo is of a tui in a Pohutukawa tree first week of November in 2018. Tui are birds with two voice boxes that can mimic almost any sound. I’ve heard human opera and the noise of motors turning over at a car park. Pohutukawa are Aotearoa Christmas trees that turn red at the holiday and cling to the very edge of the beach. 

Maren C. Tirabassi’s last year’s advent to epiphany poetry volume Christmas Eve at the Epsom Circle McDonald’s has returned to bookstores and local church virtual readings. She blogs at gifts in open hands at wordpress dot com.  

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