Thursday, June 12, 2008

I penned this poem amid the slow responses to Katrina and the levy-break flooding nearly 3 years ago

THEN AND NOW. I penned and posted the following poem nearly 3 years ago, amid the slow responses to Katrina and the levy-break flooding, while I watched on CNN as people were still sitting in groups on rooftops around the city. Now that I am here in New Orleans and have visited the lower 9th Ward (where I took this photo), I think the poem was valid then and, hopefully, a light for the future.

VERIFICATION. Last evening I talked to a man named Richard and read his first-hand account of surviving the Katrina and flooding ordeal. He described a similar experience and feelings.

Defying nature’s fury
we hunkered down
and waited out the storm

Sighing relief by sunset
we went to bed
and dreamed of clearing skies

Waking to rising water
we climbed the stairs
and hoped for nothing higher

Fleeing the rising dark tide
we stretched above
and moved to the attic

Cursing the wet-cold darkness
we pried the roof
and clambered for our lives

Seeing chaos at daybreak
we grieved for all
and gave thanks we were spared

Anticipating rescue
we searched the skies
and watched for signs of help

Passing time on the rooftop
we huddled close
and talked of rebuilding

Growing hungry and thirsty
we would grumble
and complain of delays

Waiting longer--into days--
we grew desperate
and despaired of surviving

Looking up, at last they came
we rose as one
and numbly whirled away

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