Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Poetry Stretch - Natural Forces

In the last week Virginia has experienced an earthquake and a hurricane. It's hard for me to look at these events and NOT be amazed by the power of the natural world.

We were very lucky in both instances. I may be complaining about lack of power, but while others in our neighborhood lost trees and sustained damage to their homes and cars, we came out quite unscathed.

So, I'm thinking this is a good time to write about the power of nature, whether it be earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or just a good old-fashioned rain storm. Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. We really did have a storm just last night--high drama!

    Opera on a Summer Night

    Last night thunder
    took the stage
    with his bass profundo
    and lightning flashed
    her high notes.
    Oh, how the night sang!
    And rain came in
    for the chorus.

    --Kate Coombs, 2011, all rights reserved

  2. Yarn Shop, Shelburne Falls, Ma.

    As they watched, the yarn shop
    unraveled from its moorings,
    floating swiftly downstream.
    Wet wool cannot be used, except
    by sheep who gave theirs up years ago.
    The shop gave up its wool
    to the insisting river,
    while photographers took pictures, videos,
    and safe on shore marveled
    at the power of the un-knit.

    ©2011 Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

  3. Flood

    When levees break
    And overflow
    Like promises
    Made long ago

    And city stop
    Signs disappear,
    Black waters crest
    At level: FEAR.

    Old family photos
    Float away
    With furniture
    And yesterday.

    Then come the tears
    Like rivulets:
    A Mississippi
    Of regrets.

    2011 J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved

  4. Wow, Jane and J. Patrick--wonderful! Esp. the slam-bang final lines.

  5. Irene walloped Rhode Island. My neighbors lost several old trees, though we had only heavy branches down:

    Storm’s Alarm
    By Steven Withrow

    Asleep, we do not hear it snap—
    That splintered limb
    Or heed it rap our roof
    And strike
    The downspout dumb.

    Awake, we think a bird’s deranged
    A windowpane—
    Chill rain
    Has changed to hail—a gull?—
    A gale—
    A hurricane!

    ©2011 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  6. Impressive bunch of poems. I am honored to be here with all of you.


  7. Tricia--maybe you should talk to some of your editor friends about an anthology of disaster poems, or hurricane poems. Try Rebecca Davis at Word/Song or Yolanda Scott at Charlesbridge or Katie Cunningham at Candlewick or Tom Peterson at Creative Editions or any one else you can think of.


  8. Jane/Tricia--I noticed, thanks to Fuse #8, that Kate Messner has created links to poems about Irene:

  9. This one is from an abandoned ms. called Wild Winds & Whopping Waves: Poems of the Hurricane of 1938. Sadly, it is based on a real story.


    I never quite understood irony.
    Miss McBride would say,
    "What’s the role of irony in this story?"
    And I wouldn’t have a clue.

    But today, away from English class,
    away from Miss McBride’s
    explanations of "incongruity,"
    I think I finally understand.

    I read in the paper where
    a woman in Connecticut was driving
    in the storm when a fallen tree
    caused traffic to stop.

    She knew it would take awhile
    to clear the road, so she picked up
    a book to read while waiting
    for the road to be cleared.

    The winds continued to blow
    and another tree fell.
    This one landed on the woman’s car.
    She was killed instantly.

    Here’s the irony in the story:
    the book she was reading
    was Gone with the Wind.
    Am I right, Miss McBride?

  10. After the Hurricane

    There is
    no wind at all.

    The rain
    is over too.

    The sun
    is out.

    The world
    is safe.

    I still
    feel scared.

    Do you?

    © Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

  11. IRENE

    Who would have guessed
    from the old-fashioned
    name you were given

    one of Greek origin
    meaning peace
    that you would declare war

    up and down the coast
    then travel inward
    dropping far too many

    tears   ravaging those
    calm rivers and streams
    filling them with your rage

    I just need to know
    what made you so mad?

    © Carol Weis


    Trees on pavements fast asleep
    Power lines as blankets
    A decapitated jeep
    Churches are emaciated
    Where do we go?
    If that's not enough
    Here comes the snow.

    (c) Charles Waters 2011 all rights reserved