Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Christchurch to Greymouth

From the place of broken earth
to the place of burning earth
I fly, wings outstretched.
The mountains peer at me
like neighbours through curtains
I am naked. I am unconcerned.
Sunset burns my hands as I land.
You see, I am here to help.
I, by myself.
I have brought nothing but
my burnt hands
and broken mind.

This - rough, unformed - is all I've able to write in response to the earthquake. Pardon its self absorption - I think, in these times, we are all looking inside ourselves, wondering "what if it were me?", "how shall I respond?". There are those who have not paused to think at all, who have not paused at all, who do not pause even now. This little poem is dedicated to them.

On Thursday I flew to Greymouth (well, Hokitika, then by bus to Greymouth) to work in the hospital there for a few days. The tiny plane has not much lap room for computers, and so I read Kapka Kassabova (her book Someone Else's Life is full of poems that seem appropriate to this time - but I haven't asked her permission, so I won't post one). I also scribbled this in my notebook, reading it that night at Frank's cafe where some poets meet every month.


Mary McCallum said...

Renee, you are right - we do go inside and ask 'what if it was me' and then 'what can I do?' And we feel so small and so naked and so apparently unconcerned - and ashamed and guilty... you evoke this so well with the flying (the lightness), the mountains peering in, the force of the sunset that burns, the simple line 'I, by myself'. I know you're still working on it, but I would finish the poem after 'burnt hands.' It is so strong, so evocative, it says everything.

Ashwini Sane said...

M'am, I have been a silent follower of the Tuesday Poets, and your personal blog. You have written some very strong words, which flow well. The best works are those that are written with the heart.And will not critisize your poem further because you are more accomplished, than I.I am from India, and we too have our share of natural disasters, so I understand how everyone feels.God doesnt distinguish between developed country and undeveloped country! The problem with natural disasters is that you dont know who to blame? Life just goes on, but the very fact that one feels sad and wants to do something is what humanity is, and thats all God wants.
Best wishes to you for all your works!