Cyclone Resurrection

The waters lie quiet

Reflecting the skies from which they fell,

Driven in circling clouds

Of a rampant cyclone

Poised to rain its weapons of damnation

As a furious army bent on destruction.

 

Banana palms bow down

In submission to atmospheric power

That subdued their vigour

And robbed a people of a fruit

That cools the spices

Of an inflamed mouth.

 

Mangled power pylons lie

Twisted into un-designed shapes

With compositions a sculptor's envy

And a villager's anger

As he lights a candle with wet matches

Deprived of government promise.

 

The axe hacks away at a coconut palm

One of the might fallen in the storm

Uprooted and laid low,

The humiliation of a proud life-giver

To an expectant people

Waiting for something better

 

This flesh of blood lies limp

Sapped of desire

Flaccid in dejection

After the fury of engagement with nature

Now disentangling itself

From the relationship of a lifetime.

 

The pleas, the begging,

The asking for a small help

Drag at the heart wanting to respond,

And our impotence pulls down bright spirits

Lowered into depression

As deep as a people's hell.

 

They bow fatalistically,

Yet silently boiling with anger

That steams from a cauldron of stagnation

With dung, refuse and rotting flesh

As they mutter with determination

'We shall rise again!'

  

Written on the train Bapatla - Vijayawada after seeing the effects of the cyclone on Salvation Army property and on the people's homes etc.

16 May 1990