Storm on the Island
We had a tornado in London last Friday, shocked the hell out of most of us. The only weather of this kind I can recall was a hurricane in 1987, me being only little at the time have a few rather vague memories of that day, except for the fact we had huge logs to play with at school. Despite that I grew up thinking we lived on a rather safe island far away from all those natural disasters areas. No fault lines, no Volcanoes, no tropical storms, safe as safe can be. Seems I was mistaken.
This sort of weather always makes me introspective but more then anything it reminds me of a poem by Seamus Heaney, of course he was talking about Ireland but its so evocative it always stayed with me...
STORM ON THE ISLAND
We are prepared: we build our houses squat,
Sink walls in rock and roof them with good slate.
This wizened earth has never troubled us
With hay, so, as you see, there are no stacks
Or stooks that can be lost. Nor are there trees
Which might prove company when it blows full
Blast: you know what I mean - leaves and branches
Can raise a tragic chorus in a gale
So that you listen to the thing you fear
Forgetting that it pummels your house too.
But there are no trees, no natural shelter.
You might think that the sea is company,
Exploding comfortably down on the cliffs
But no: when it begins, the flung spray hits
The very windows, spits like a tame cat
Turned savage. We just sit tight while wind dives
And strafes invisibly. Space is a salvo,
We are bombarded with the empty air.
Strange, it is a huge nothing that we fear.
by Seamus Heaney