Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Finger of God

I was watching some video clips of the tornadoes that pranced on through the southeastern US on Tuesday - awe inspiring, they are. The clips sparked some thoughts about the storms, about how they are formed and the superstitions that used to surround them...and maybe still do.

There was a tribe - I can't remember which one - that called tornadoes "The Fingers of God".

I have experienced my share of tornadic storms, those pea-green, pink streaked, frothy black lowering skies that boil just overhead and seek an earthly landing - they always call me outside to watch, to see...something about the power they embody, I suppose, the raw force of nature at her maddest.

And she does rage when she is maddened.

Five or six times, I have watched a whirling, reaching funnel pass overhead on its way to some other, more preferable place. Once or twice I have finally taken shelter with my son, the cats, and my laptop in the only place my current home offers, the downstairs bathroom. My heart wasn't in it though - I wanted to be out with the storm, tearing up the trees, rooting along the ground, unleashing myself all primeval on the timid world.

So I wrote this thing while watching the video clips. Enjoy, or not, whatever...poetry (and to some extent, prose) is so subjective it's a wonder the form survives.

And please don't take my awe, my love, my respect for these storms as a lack of feeling for those who suffer them - my heart breaks for the people whose lives are shattered when wind takes shape and comes calling. Had I some way, I would shield them from it, make certain that the cruel beauty of a tornado never did anyone harm but vented itself somewhere else, somewhere not human. Had I uneneding funds I would rebuild what I could (a house is so easily replaced...what lived in it is not), give solace where I could. I never, ever, want to know firsthand how the darkness can come to life and tear my family to pieces. I don't want to be forever marked, labeled with the appellation "survivor", pitied, feared. We are so fragile...

And then comes down the sky
And with his fingers does god touch the lives
Of those below
Touch and tear, rend and make wretched
And then comes down the sky
And howling , whirling, whipping winds gnash and slash
And the great grumbling beast,
Takes whole his due
Swallows whole his due
And then comes down the sky
And scatters nine-pins like
Who stands before him shivering
Man shaking his fist
Shouting through the fury
Screaming through the fury
And then comes down the sky
And one is left standing
Blessed one
Chosen one
Mad one
To speak witness
Of the coming down

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