Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday's Poetry: "The Shaking"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

Two years ago today while I was living on the Japanese island of Okinawa,  a monster earthquake hit the area around Fukushima on mainland Japan.  A subsequent tidal wave, also of monster proportions, then washed ashore doing unbelievable damage.  One of my friends was on an airplane flying into Tokyo as the earthquake hit, and his flight had to be rerouted because of damage to the airport that was to have been his destination.   The poor guy spent a night sleeping in an airport and then had to travel across Tokyo by using a variety of conveyances.
That night and the next morning many of us on Okinawa watched the coastline nervously for tidal waves, but fortunately we were spared.  I contacted a former exchange student daughter who had lived with us years before in Missouri and was, at the time of the earthquake, living near Tokyo.  She said she had felt the shaking and things fell from shelves in her home and broke.

A couple of military people that I worked with actually got to travel to the Fukushima area and help in the recovery process.  Another friend went there a few months later with her church group on a humanitarian mission.
During the two years that I lived on Okinawa I felt the earth move about half a dozen times.   Usually my apartment building would sway slightly for thirty seconds or so.  One day while I was at work there was a more serious jolt, and when I returned home that evening I found a few items broken.
The earth itself serves as sort of a baseline for all mankind.  It is solid and dependable, the one true thing.  When the earth moves without warning, all that we know as real suddenly seems to become far more ethereal.
I stumbled across the following poem, "The Shaking," on the Internet.   The write-up with the poem said that it is about Christchurch, New Zealand, but the poet's name was omitted.    I felt that it gave a good sense of what it must be like to ride out a major earthquake.  

This posting is respectfully dedicated to my friends in Japan.  May your days be safe and the ground remain stable.

The Shaking

The earth just keeps on moving
Beneath my very feet
The cracks keep on appearing
And make the old house weak

I see the hidden terror in the eyes of those around
I watch them as they try to bypass all the broken ground

I see the children shudder
After every shake and jolt
That pulses through the underground
From this deadly fault

My city falls around me, and people die in pain
Cracks in concrete, open wounds, the bloody liquefaction stain
Streets of rubble, twisted bridges, broken buildings, new formed ridges
First the rumbling, then the crumbling, then the sights of structures tumbling

A city once so beautiful
That stood so proud and wonderful
Is now a ghost that haunts us all.

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