Neil Hester

All poems © Neil Hester unless otherwritten

Location: North Carolina, United States

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tropical Storm Ketsana

A couple days ago, I found out about Ketsana hitting the Philippines; I got an e-mail from my cousin, then heard from my mom, who talked to my grandparents. The situation is extremely bad in the Philippines, as well as in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, from my understanding. Here are a few media:


Philippines Flood of Woes

At Least 240 Dead in Philippine Floods

Philippines braced for new storm


Fortunately, as far as I know, my family in the Philippines is alive, which I am very thankful for. I've read that the government has been slow to respond; hopefully my family has gotten help by now, and hopefully the potential second storm misses or isn't as bad as they are currently predicting.

I wrote a poem with my family in mind. It's not at all cheerful, but I tried to reflect some of what's going through some peoples' heads over there right now, to the best of my ability. It's hard from halfway around the world.


Tropical Storm Ketsana
          ~For my relatives in the Philippines

The clouds are empty now. Our houses are full,
and our homes are gone. Will someone respond?
No government yet (but, some are too high
to get their feet wet). From the top of my house,
I can see the ocean. Or maybe the Styx–
I saw two bodies float away. Now I know
my friend is dead; he’s lost in a sea
of soggy dreams, broken wood,
and all my thoughts and fears. Too many
to take the time to cry. I’m too dry anyhow,
parched in the soul. The water does nothing,
except whet the thirst; it travels slowly,
with a grim and sickly shimmer, so unlike
the crystal torrent just hours before,
with its jagged winds and massive roar.
My terror grew with every tremor.

                                                                —And yet,
I find the present, in its silence, to be worse.
The storm was like an army, but the river is a hearse.


Best of wishes to all my family in the Philippines,