Monday, 29 August 2011

Storm, Damages and... Leaves

It was in the midst of a short conversation, with a particular Twitter friend and very capable poet (Twitter ID @Fumanchucat), who lives in New York. Hurricane Irene was blowing its way up the East coast and heading for the big city creating an undercurrent of fear and trepidation in the minds of everyone there. This was such that evacuation plans were being made in preparation for the expected structural damage and the flooding that would follow the high winds.

Rather randomly, if you'll pardon the momentary distraction from the theme of this post, it's title gives a passing nod to the title of a book in our possession, which represents a significant contribution to the art of punctuation. "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" is informative, amusing and recommended for anyone who has an aspiration for writing properly punctuated English language.

Anyway, this Twitter conversation! It went as follows: -

Fumanchucat: "Hurricane update: Boring! Y A W N..."

Poetjanstie: "What! No armageddon, no deafening fury of satanic proportions, no blood-curdling screams for mercy, no flying cars...!?"

Fumanchucat: "Irene is one boring chick, lemme tell ya'.."

Poetjanstie: "Isn't there even a slight breeze?"

Fumanchucat: "Some leaves are putting on a show but no shake, rattle and roll"

I imagine, if she'll forgive me for saying this, that she is one dour, but very erudite New Yorker, whose feathers don't get ruffled easily! She makes me smile and sometimes laugh and writes some pretty damn good poetry to boot, which you can find here.

That phrase "Some leaves are putting on a show..." immediately stuck and I suggested that it looked like the makings of a poem, thinking that she might take it up, but all she said in reply to that was "Go, John, go!". Now either she was telling me to push off, or that I should write the poem. I prefer to think it was the latter, so I did that!

In spite of the tongue-in-cheek light-hearted nature of this poem, my thoughts still remain now and for the coming days and weeks with the families of anyone who was lost in the wake of this powerful storm and for the immense damage it wreaked on its journey.

So, this poem is not only for Lady Fumanchu, who is responsible for inspiring it, but also for our other particular friend, writer and poet, Joe Hesch (Twitter ID @JAHesch), who kept up a running commentary of the storm's slightly more damaging passage through his neck of the woods, a little way further out of New York, in Albany.

Above all, we and I'm sure they are grateful the storm didn't do as much damage as was originally predicted, which brings me neatly to the point of the poem.


Some leaves are putting on a pretty show
They said we have to expect a maelstrom soon
an armageddon to blow away the moon
And telling us to pack our bags and go.

We waited long and into wee small hours,
our lives to change, last minutes in our wills.
The fear and dread is palpable, and fills
imaginations with dreams of satanic powers.

Meanwhile the leaves, with neighbours unaware,
are whipping up excitement on the lawn
as foliage twists into a dancing fawn;
a largely missed delight, 'cause no-one's there.

But, somehow, when all is said and done
as lawyers sharpened pencils to prepare
for claims and litigation... nightmare!
the weather's playing games and having fun!

Instead of blowing gales, disaster trails,
it whispered to the trees and leaves "don't worry…
we'll have some fun with just a little flurry”.
So leaves put on a show; there were no rales.

© 2011 John Anstie


  1. John, you are a dear man, you know that? I enjoyed reading that duplication of our convo, and your take on this jaded Gotham dweller. Loved the poem, and was taken with the use of the word "rales" here. So glad this bored, New Yawka was able to inspire you! Hugs, J.!

  2. The pleasure is all mine, you bad-ass gal ;-)

  3. Loved both pieces John...I'm just an ignorant Farmboy what are rales?

  4. We didn't get much hubbub, I'm further inland NC. It didn't stop people from panicking (media hype).

    A wonderful poem, and fun to read.

  5. A rale is "an abnormal rattling sound heard when examining unhealthy lungs...". I've heard it described somewhere else as "death rattles" - charming, eh? Thanks for your comment, John.

    Jessica, thanks too for your comment and I do hope you haven't got too much clearing up to do. Unusual that a hurricane reached so far up the East coast?


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