It is nearly five years since hurricane Irene wreaked some havoc along the East coast of North America through New York State and beyond. This reminds me of the power of natural forces and, in a sense, runs counter to the spirit of this month’s theme “The Joys of Nature: Wilderness” … there is no joy in losing your home or, worse, a friend or someone you love, even to a natural disaster, but this story comes from a slightly different perspective or, if you like, a small tributary of the main stream, which leads you away from the maelstrom to a charming backwater, which in fact lies in the backyard of a fellow poet, who made an equally charming observation.
It was in the midst of a short conversation, with Twitter friend and poet, Jacqueline Dick (Twitter ID @Fumanchucat), who lives in New York. Hurricane Irene was blowing its way up the East coast and heading for the big city creating an undercurrent of fear and trepidation in the minds of everyone there. This was such that evacuation plans were being made in preparation for the expected structural damage and the flooding that would follow the high winds.
Anyway, the conversation! It went as follows: –
@Fumanchucat: “Hurricane update: Boring! Y A W N…”
@Poetjanstie: “What! No armageddon, no deafening fury of satanic proportions, no blood-curdling screams for mercy, no flying cars…!?”
@Fumanchucat: “Irene is one boring chick, lemme tell ya’..”
@Poetjanstie: “Isn’t there even a slight breeze?”
@Fumanchucat: “Some leaves are putting on a show, but no shake, rattle and roll”
I imagine, if she’ll forgive me for saying this, that she is one dour, but very erudite New Yorker, whose feathers don’t get ruffled easily! She makes me smile and sometimes laugh and writes some pretty good poetry to boot.
That phrase “Some leaves are putting on a show…” immediately struck a chord, and I suggested that it looked like the makings of a poem, thinking that she might take it up, but all she said in reply to that was “Go, John, go!”. Now either she was telling me to push off, or that I should write the poem. I prefer to think it was the latter, so I did that!
In spite of the tongue-in-cheek light-hearted nature of this poem, my thoughts still remain with the families of anyone who was lost in the wake of that powerful storm and for the immense damage it wreaked on its journey. It is also apposite to think of the impact of any of nature’s powerful storm forces, particularly since it is the fifth anniversary of that horrendous tsunami in Japan and Fukushima … that there is also the enormous power that nature has not only to create wilderness of stunning beauty, but also, in the blink of an eye, to lay waste to great tracts of ordered civilisation, which may have taken much human endeavour to build. How haunting a sight are deserted areas that once thronged with life. Is this the alternative wilderness?
Some leaves are putting on a pretty show
They said we should expect a maelstrom soon
an armageddon to blow away the moon
And telling us to pack our bags and go.
We waited long and into wee small hours,
our lives to change, last minutes in our wills.
The fear and dread is palpable, and fills
imaginations and dreams with satanic powers.
Meanwhile the leaves, with neighbours unaware,
are whipping up excitement on the lawn
as foliage twists into a dancing fawn;
a largely missed delight, as no one’s there.
But, somehow, when all is said and done
as lawyers sharpened pencils to prepare
for claims and litigation, a costed nightmare
the weather’s playing games and having fun!
Instead of blowing gales, disaster trails,
it whispered to the trees and leaves ‘don’t worry…
we’ll have some fun with just a little flurry’.
The leaves put on a show; there were no rales.
[I should also mention that, whilst it was poet, Jacqueline Dick, the intrepid Lady Fumanchu, who is responsible for inspiring this poem, it was another friend, writer, poet and fellow contributor to the Bardo/BeZine, Joe Hesch (Twitter ID @JAHesch), who, at the time of Irene, kept up a running commentary of the storm’s slightly more damaging passage through his neck of the woods, upstate New York, in Albany.
Above all, we and I’m sure they are grateful the storm didn’t do as much damage as was originally predicted; and that a little human joy can still, sometimes be found hidden within the big picture.]
© 2011 John Anstie