The following are examples of lament poems written by participants of a trauma healing workshop (including several mother-tongue Bible translators) in the Central African Republic. That nation has been plagued by conflict, upheaval and anarchy due to ongoing government/rebel fighting.
Oh Jesus, great king!
Have pity on me
Remove my sins I am a sinner.
Stretch out your wings
Cover your son
You are a mother hen
Cover your son.
Give me peace
Peace in my heart
Have pity on me
So that I can live.
Oh Jesus, great King
You alone are King
You have heard my cries.
Why this suffering?
Why these wars?
Where do divisions come from?
Where do all these ethnic conflicts come from?
What does the good God do?
Is He asleep? Is He deaf?
Or is He expressly causing all this?
In my distress and sufferings
Your little voice says:
“My grace is sufficient for you,
Because my Son took all this to the cross.”
Praise, honour, glory,
Give them to our God, our Counsellor.
O Lord, I come to appeal to you
Please agree to hear my pleas, Oh, my Father
Wipe my tears, Father
So that I can find the joy that comes from you.
I’ve run around all over looking for peace
I do that in the daytime
At night, there is nothing but fear
My worries are enormous
My sufferings are also numerous
When will it all end?
I used to go to the healers
And even to the diviners,
But I didn’t find peace.
It is in you I find peace, Oh Lord,
And my sufferings evaporate
You have freed me from my worries
I’ve found hope again in You
And my enemies are all ashamed.
I thank you, Father
Thank you for coming to meet me
My joy comes from you
Alleluia to you Amen!
God, you are a great
God, is it truly I who got away from Bossangoa?
Thank you, God.
My ears still hear the guns and the mortars
But my heart is at peace.
God, my feet are tired God, what are you doing?
I’m suffering here for you
I’m suffering in the bush.
I am sure that you are always seeing me
I always put my confidence in you.
—Elvis, based on what his wife
sang as they fled their town