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POETRY CORNER: Aftermath in Vermont

Back in 2012, I vacationed in Vermont. This was in the summer, when they were still clearing the flood damage left by Hurricane Irene. We saw just devastated stretches of road wherever we went. After one particular outing, I decided to put my thoughts down on paper, and it came out as a poem. I don’t normally write poetry, but here it is:


Air like a pane of glass I could walk through, cool and moist and brittle,

Shiny grey and bright, a hint of rain with a promise of more to come.

Charcoal smudges drift above, charred cobwebs from some leviathan attic,

Broken loose from the grey slab grumbling up from the Cape

Drifting to herald the coming rain.

I look up: Oh hell, Irene was just last year!

But the new storm growls closer, callously ignoring our timetable.


Dead trees still standing puncture the green,

Towering needles the color of dried bone.

Humid gusts race through

Tree corpses rubbing and creaking in the gusts.

The forest ignores it all, regenerating all around

Sprouting around the standing dead as the rustling reaches a crescendo.

The green clings to everything, garden moss for giants.

Nature crowds in here,

Tucked between these green, winding ridges.


Twisting and ropy, all bends and sweeping curves,

The road cuts between the hills like a scar

Rough and pockmarked, swept out by a torrent, Irene’s latest punching bag;

Steel railing warped and gnarled, gravel strewn about like cat litter

An old grey house rests nearby, slumped sideways like a neglected tombstone

Water-pummeled, bottom floor a swept-out skeleton of load-bearing beams,

The rest shut up, boarded over, left to tilt and crumble


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