Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dead Silence (Poem)

Dead Silence

The roses have been abandoned
in the village of Kuta Rakyat,

the ash from the erupting Mount
Sinabung collected in the spaces

between the slips of the creamy
soft-lipped petals. Two hundred

twenty times a week the volcano
straddling the Pacific Ring of Fire

spews its face powders into air,
the pyroclastic flow on all flanks

racing with hurricane-force speed.
Unpicked coffee beans lie in paths

of too-hot lava runs, a dog goes down
in a plumed dome of smoke, and rice

already harvested is emptied again
from wooden bowls. There are rocks

being thrown from heaven. The chili
trees wither and once-bright skins

of oranges bear crusty coats forbidden
to the masked children still showing

up for school lessons. Among gnarled
grey-black stalks, a single hibiscus

flower rises like a cup of red wine.
When lightning strikes, the ringing

of cell phones ends in dead silence.

© 2014 Maureen E. Doallas
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Indonesia's Mount Sinabung has been erupting for weeks now, displacing tens of thousands, destroying crops, and threatening native flora and fauna. The stunning photographs of the eruption are the inspiration for this poem.

11 comments:

Glynn said...

I saw the news report. This is another ways of telling the news - and I think a better one. Good poem.

Peggy Rosenthal said...

Whew! I don't need to see the photos, since your vivid images paint the horrid picture devastatingly. Thank you.

Kathleen said...

Wow. Devastating.

Brian Miller said...

ugh. imagine the destruction it leaves in its wake...you def capture the vivid images in your words maureen...

emmett wheatfall said...

I love the concrete imagery in this piece. You keep it paced and spaced nicely. But it is that last stich, about the ringing phone that blew me away and made this poem a treasure to have read. Strong, strong, composition. I love reading this kind of talented poetry.

Colin Morgan said...

Vivid writing. Thank you for sharing.

Marina Sofia said...

A lot of very telling details, very concrete, well observed. And, above all, you've selected the most touching ones.

poemblaze said...

I missed the news item. The poem is vivid, dark, well written.

Mystic_Mom said...

Seeing the photos, and reading your poem bring it to a new place for me. Well done, this is finely crafted.

HisFireFly said...

"and rice
already harvested is emptied again
from wooden bowls"

something so strong here...
can't put a finger on it yet

Linda Rogers said...

You bring this devastation to life with your vivid images. Such a sad thing to see so much loss and destruction.