Boxing day

Boxing day was dark
but far away vacationers
strolled to the beach when suddenly
the tsunami rolled in.

They say that first the sea inhaled
before the brine crushed bones and toppled walls.
how nothing
could withstand its watered fangs.

I read about survivors;
parents who had tried to save
their children. I try to comprehend
how much it pains to feel a toddler’s hand
slipping from your hold.

I learned about a former work-mate
surviving
having lost both parents and sister.

I wonder if gods conspired
to havoc seaside bliss punishing a toddler’s sins.
or if they were playful dumb or ignorant.

Gilena wants us to write about natural disasters at toads. For me the tsunami in 2004 is still engraved in my retina. So many of my fellow countrymen where affected, and it’s still a national trauma.

August 26, 2017

14 responses to “Boxing day

  1. This really resonated with me. At the time of that disaster one of my co-workers was from Sri Lanka and all her family was still there. She went through days of not knowing their fate. I really agonized for her.

  2. I love the “dark”/”far” rhyme in the opening.

    I really like the way you worded the second stanza, but I can’t handle the third (thinking of my own little hands, of course).

    This is my favorite part of your poem:

    “I wonder if gods conspired
    to havoc seaside bliss punishing a toddler’s sins.”

  3. …a toddler’s sins — shiver. I can’t fathom that notion any more than I can understand such disasters. I watched a whole series of videos once about a tsunami – and one father stepped out of the hotel room to see what was going on – the water did NOT allow him back in to the room AND the mother had a hold of her child – the room filled up with water … and the child went out the window! The parents found the body days later…. I can’t even imagine the feeling of the child being swept out of my arms… I will NEVER forget the video. The parents needed up staying on the island to make a difference – eventually had another child… their sharing of this was very emotional… And my regard for them very high.

  4. Wow, Bjorn, this is a very powerful piece, I especially like the imagery in your 2nd stanza. I always enjoy reading your work and this is no exception to the rule.

  5. Such a powerful poem, Bjőrn. I was blown away by the lines:
    ‘They say that first the sea inhaled
    before the brine crushed bones and toppled walls’.
    and made tearful by:
    ‘…I try to comprehend
    how much it pains to feel a toddler’s hand
    slipping from your hold’.

  6. Sounds like the gods are just as perplexed about the havoc — what sins must a toddler appease? — as the mortals. Some fine lines in the beginning describing the tsunami’s crushing advent.

  7. Your final stanza provides the question so often asked by believers…one that defies answer. For a non-believer, natural disasters serve as reminder that we are living in the path of phenomena which we cannot control: lessons in hubris often come at a high cost.

  8. I think it was looking out to the ocean when I was much younger that made me realize that nature isn’t a being and doesn’t care a whit about human beings. It is a great neutral force and the good and bad that we attribute to it are in our own sensibilities. What happens because of nature can seem cruel, but it is only cruel through human eyes. No dumb or ignorant gods, no toddlers’ sins. Only nature doing its nature thing.

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