Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Hurricane Poems

Penny MacPherson


FRANCES

She's not the type to smile
But clutches the land in her iron fist of wind and drags her rain-soaked feet from coast to coast to drench,
Howling and roaring when the face of anyone stares her down.

Sitting still in my shelter I hear her pounding rage and bend and bow in silent prayer. I hold my breath and brace
Myself against the gusts—gusts that twist my mind into coiling fear, hissing like a brood of vipers poised to strike,
The trees with their limbs and trunks tremble beside me and the world's topsy-turvy torn Ripping ripping, or am I torn?

Then breathing deep-deep-deep again and settling down almost resting—gliding
Back to safety but I don't, I tense up
Again and I can hear nothing save
The sky above me opening up in fresh torrents of rain needles to puncture and slash at the skin and I am calm for one
Freeing moment, not sitting in the safe house but on sunshine's shoulders, then around, it's all brightness, just
Shimmering rainbows and sunbursts, radiating and swirling about and a
Softened, seeping relaxation spreads over storm-tossed mind—taste
the easy warmth of red wine! And
Relaxing again and again … Warm warm warm then I perceive the only thing stopping me From fleeing is the iron fist of wind and trampling rain-soaked feet so I
LET GO, releasing the trivial
Hurricane in one soft, swift blurred instant,
Surrendering the tropical storm and moving into God, Just God, and all that means—and gliding off into dimensions of peace, flanking and surrounding me, buoying me higher-higher-higher
And I wonder, Is this faith?
Serenity becomes my apparel, and contentment my food, when my dwelling place is peace When hospitality of strangers is all there is and it is more than enough
And I am surviving, one thought or sensation behind another, powerless to command, can't Command, just surviving. I
Falter, mind full, but I walk in Sarah's footsteps,

Outdoors reeling. Frances tells me I'm frightened, but I know differently,
She is the frightened little girl—not abandoning her tantrums, her fury—
Her tenaciousness
Denying herself that final stage of acceptance that slips a robe of quiet dignity about the shoulders of the resigned.

The instant when I release the future of the storm and just let go, to soar—
I haven't been swept away yet, I'm
Rising more-more-more and being
Safe and warm is all that matters

And exhilaration of being part of the remnant … With the sweet breath of relief waltzing in Like a winsome lady On the heels of Frances … I am all rainbows
With sunshine in my eyes and
Being alive replaces the puckered frown of worry. Life becomes nothing more than
Total restoration of all things damaged …

 

A FEW WORDS FOR JEANNE

This time we stayed home.
This time we did not panic.
This time we only lost power for half an hour.
This time we slept on matresses in the hallway.
This time we did not load the motor home.
This time we did not evacuate.
This time I was not afraid.
This time the winds did not rip and howl through my ears.
This time the rain did not descend like a plague of locusts.
This time we all stayed calm.
This time Triana and I lay on the floor playing Dominoes.
This time the sun shone before sunset.

***

Penny MacPherson holds both a B.A. from Wells College (Aurora, NY) and a Master's of Teaching degree from The University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA). She has authored 4 books of poetry, and has published a dozen poems in several newsletters and national magazines. She currently resides in Florida.

Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne both hit Penny's home state of Florida.

© Penny MacPherson

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012