Poem: the three in the morning hurricane haiku blues

© Eileen Ridge 1996

This is a piece about Hurricane Bertha, which came barreling up the East Coast in 1996. I was living alone in Nags Head, a bit north of where the storm made landfall (in the States) along the southern North Carolina coast. I’d just gotten my first laptop, and I marveled at being able to write on the computer, temporarily off the power grid. A week ago, Sandy devastated  much of the East Coast (and parts beyond), while largely sparing us, reminding me of this old poem, which I wrote as a string of haiku in a sort of stream-of-consciousness fashion. Shortly after I wrote it, it was my joy to perform it with Mick Vaughn playing bass in a duo we called “Cosmic Leaf.”

a hurricane nears
and what I notice is the
first few drops of rain

they give her a face
Bertha’s the name that’s chosen
barkeeps make new drinks

it’s quarter to three
in the morning I listen
raindrops on the deck

breezes move the trees
cars on the highway head north
sad vacationers

two fifty seven
a.m. and I’m glad I’m home
to close the windows

now the wind chime sounds
it’s starting to blow southeast
should have bought water

should have bought plywood
another year the same scene
should have planned better

closed the south window
bruised shin on the rocking chair
quiet curse   dammit

heavy heavier
a torrent dumps on my roof
drowns out highway noise

all of us wonder
where the storm will make landfall
pray we’re spared again

but if our prayers bring
disaster to some others
what success is that?