Autumn Storm

The earth does what it does
and always has–

Storm bellowing,
Flood rushing,
And the reeds bend;
Trees sway and sometimes
go roots up;
The waters wild
sweep the land
forgetting former banks
erasing dams
the diligent beaver built.


The tempest swoops in
off the ocean
where it trained,
charging like a heavyweight
out of his corner,
the ancient weather vane
sets the ponies running in the wind;
the last of autumn’s fire
off the swaying trees–
They, and later
the weather vane as well
fly on the wind,
the ponies
whipped up as wild
and rambunctious
as the lashing rains.

in tree-top nests disrupted
learn to fly
and small birds hide
as best they can
and cats
of independent disposition
come inside

Where we, close-huddled
by the fireplace
hope that the wood
already in the house
will be enough,
have candle lanterns ready
and flashlights
close to hand,
with extra batteries…

The kids are energised,
taking it in turns,
cranking on the new-fangled
old fashioned swamp-radio
that never needs a battery replaced,
and praying for a sudden cold
and maybe feet of snow,
and make extravagant plans…

Even when the blast
exhausts itself
to fitful gusts
and wanders off,
the rain drums on,
a flat percussive
drumming over-head…

The water fills
the hollows of the land
and saturates the soil,
drives out small rodents
from their earth;

And even the dog is whining
that, in fact,
he’d rather not go out
but must, he must,
oh dear,
and not alone…

And the water buckets down
and drums and drums
and finally lulls
the last of us to sleep,
that flashlight by the bed…

The dawn comes
luminous and calm–
as if the weather
never had a single
brutal thought,
never blustered,
never raged,
never came in reeling
like a drunk,
never loosed the ponies
nor beat the land to
sodden helplessness…

The day comes on
gently, cheerfully,
the light a little harsher
through trees denuded
their columns etched and dark,
still gleaming with the wet…

Birds sing,
Squirrels scold,
Cats consider going out,
The dog can hardly wait!

The kids are disappointed
not really getting
what disaster is…

And someone must go out
and find the weather vane
then climb up the misty roof
and put it back
onto its naked pole.

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