a poem by Lee Emmett, Australia - poetry writer, author, poet

Just minutes ago they basked in the mild
autumn sun on the idyllic island beach:
sleepy children in their mothers’ arms,
lazy holidaymakers and old people.
Now screaming in fear they race for their lives
against a force greater than collective experience.
Frantic animals dash towards the hills.

In the turmoil I panic and feel the urgency
to escape from a primitive, powerful emotion.
A chasm opens in the bedrock, tearing apart
the earth’s core. In the heart of my existence
gigantic anger explodes, its energy grows,
responding to the dislocation deep within.

Shock waves dissipate in time, I know.
At this instant, though, the surge
towards destruction is unstoppable.
The tsunami rips a passage through the sea.
Chance elements disintegrate in its wake.

One man’s audacity causes him to act
in defiance of nature. The pendulum swings:
a certain downward gravitational thrust
reacts to his rampant egocentricity.

This selfsame friend, in the guise of saviour,
steps into the deep, turbulent waters of grief.
Interposing himself between mother and child
he gets caught up in a tumultuous rising tide,
a passion which reaches a violent climax,
resolving in a calamitous crash.

Rock and sand withstand brute reality
in this dreadful, destructive moment.
Salty deluge swamps fragile, delicate life.
Trees, grass and bodies are swept away.
Bitter tears are wept, and shrieks of disbelief
are heard until an eerie calm returns.
A new order is established.
Inevitably there are losses.

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