Note: My classmate and “resident poet” sent me this poem about the hurricanes that seems appropriate to post during the 10 Days of Awe on the Jewish New Year calendar. Mother Nature can be beautiful and she can also unleash her awesome wrath at any time.
To pit yourself against the ocean
blinded by the Waves of Light,Â
saving the groundwork of your devotion
planting seagrass on dunes to ensure they last
at least long enough to soak up the sand.
But the Underside, the treachery, the Whirlwind,
a mesmerizing Eye, unharnessed natural forces
uprooting palm trees and houses at Sugar Loaf Key.
When all your words are undone and flattened
against your tongue, mute with the awe of it;
the heroics of wind going into unchartered wilderness
while Irma moves by with excess pride
targeting the sea wall of your notions to preserve the earth,
the huff and puff of man-made stuff
from the penetrating increments of surf.
Right before your eyes, the storm surge arrives:
draining an estuary, sucking the St. Johnâs River dry
as if a drain appeared out of the sky;
lost in the Space Mountain of boarded-up dreams
depriving you even of insight to defy;
pushing water till it comes back with alacrity at High Tide;
an old woman riding it out in a bathtub between lightning strikes.
Shift the blame from In God we trust, the coin
outstretched in the hand of a Homeless Man
to untamed Seas while a tornado levels the playing fields.
Anchors Away for boats, only skeletal houses remain.
There is no safety latch, no stalling tactics,
little to see except the expanse of inland sea
and the capricious windâs velocity
making short shrift of the landscapeâs Rules
turning it all into catch as can a barracuda in a swimming pool;
glittering rainbow Shells dead in the water;
even the abrasive etches at the very last gasp
into soft inspiring precious glass
to see clearly Mankindâs Folly at the last.