Beware August 29

My woods trying hard to come back

When I planned this blog several weeks ago, I had no idea we would be experiencing Hurricane Isaac on the seventh anniversary of Katrina. While Isaac has dumped way too much water and worn out his welcome as he drags his feet getting out of here, we are thankful he has not left as much damage as his sister in his wake. I wrote this poem as part of my own recovery after Katrina.

Eleven years ago –
Mississippi woods out back
clinched the sale
of a home to grow old in.

The woods turned me
into a child again –
ambling down Papaw’s lane;
watching squirrels play tag through the treetops;
seeing cardinals and Eastern bluebirds
swoop from tree to tree;
listening to woodpeckers rat-a-tatting;
surrounded by majestic oaks, swaying pines, “hicker-nut” trees,
beautyberry bushes.

Seven years ago on
The morning after Katrina’s
opaque white rain and roaring wind,
in my woods,
pines stood popped off like
little boys’ pencil fights,
roots and trunks of stately oaks
lay fallen crosswise
like too many grandchildren
sleeping in the same bed.

I felt pieces of my heart shatter into

grief with searchers
for family and friends;

mourning for lost
jobs and homes;

anger at those who would
loot, shoot, and gouge;

relief that Katrina was gone and
we were safe;

gratitude for
our intact home;

and one sizeable shard of
lament for woods
that will not renew in my lifetime.

This poem was published in the “When Things Get Back to Normal” issue of Thema Magazine [Vol. 20, No. 3; Autumn 2008]