Elegy, with lines from e.e. cummings

This entry is part 14 of 28 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2013


(Tacloban City, Philippines)

Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands: but I do not agree. Time, perhaps, has the illusion of small hands. Time is made of wings we cannot see or feel even if they brush against our faces in the dark. In the daytime, they take the shape of pauses, those moments we think we have forgotten something important and we retrace our steps. Somewhere in the mind, the sound of a shutter clicking open and close. Warnings and sirens, and then the wind: rising, insistent, forcing open all closed doors, all shelters. The pictures show how, before it made landfall, the storm was a magnitude of elegiac proportions: its one eye did not blink, so bent it was on bearing down with the unbearable weight of its sadness. No, this rain did not have small hands. But the child did, the one whose frail body spun like a compass needle wrenched free of its battered case. Let me go, and you live, she said to her mother, before the current took her. None of this is metaphor. Ten thousand lives did not shut very beautifully, suddenly, or close like roses.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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5 Replies to “Elegy, with lines from e.e. cummings”

  1. Thank you.

    It’s heartbreaking to see all the images of devastation in the news. More than 10,000 are now reported dead, and we don’t even have final figures yet of how many are homeless or missing.

    Please consider sharing this with your friends and networks – the Philippines Red Cross is accepting donations for victims of hurricane Taiyan/Yolanda – best to go directly to its website and look for their “Donate” button; they also accept PayPal. The minimum donation is $2.00, which is a little over a hundred Philippine pesos in value, and will go a long way toward helping the stricken. http://www.redcross.org.ph

  2. people often think that poetry is about nostalgia and flimsy sentiment — shallow repetitions of trite reflections , commonplace observations upon valentines and daisies, but that couldn’t be be further from the truth. sometimes the ugliest, and most violent scenes and emotional anguish are best conveyed with simple images created by words perfectly chosen and arranged to open closed eye and bring devastation home to our kitchen table so that we can be wrecked and devastated by the absence of valentines and anything commonplace, accepted or comprehensible. These lovely words have torn the day to shreds and that is necessary and essential — that is poetry. Thank you, Luisa Igloria.

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