Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Christchurch Quakes

Our world is a crazy beast right now. The December floods in West Australia's Gascoyne region were incredible. Then Melbourne rained all January, Queensland then New South Wales and Victoria had their monumental floods in Feburary, only to be mopped up by the massive Cyclone Yasi in the country's north east corner. The Pilbara has rained and cycloned its way through summer and, next thing you know, there are fires culling suburbs in Perth, more deluges in Queensland and flooded roads in the Kimberley.

And then the Christchurch earthquake.
And then Japan's earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear reactor explosions.

I suggested I'd buy a lotto ticket. Now seems the right time.
My friend Beth replied not to bother. 'All the outlets,' she reckons, have probably 'been flooded, burned, and knocked down in earthquakes and nuked! There is always fine print to these games.'

In the fine print, there is of course the worst of all of this. Not the buildings, or the holes in the road, the debris littering rooftops, or the cars and boats littering village streets.

It's the death.

Yet still, amongst that, there persists that singular gift of humanity we cling to through all such sobering times.

I was privileged to be given the opportunity to write about the Christchurch earthquake in its wake. And this is what I share with you today.

The photo is of two sisters together in France. The lady on the left makes her home in Christchurch. this 'little old lady' was injured, but survived. And thus, carrying hope in a handbag, she still makes her home in Christchurch.

Blessings to all.

The Pilbara Poet

When the earth moved

Newly wed and under wraps in a fine hotel,
their synchronicity was blinding.
Both felt it at once,
the earth moving for them.
Yet neither screamed,
for the weight of the moment
sucked breath away,
deep into dust and steel,
with the rose petal bed shifted
eight floors south
and their thumping hearts
clogged quick into lifelessness.

In the next room
a businessman walked out
the third floor
at street level
with a scratch
upon his temple.
And a headache.

The little old lady hunkered beneath
her shattered shoulder and
the ridiculous armour of a black wool coat
noted her own irony, stuttering, dazed
through this Armageddon of
broken earth in her city’s heart.
It was Tuesday.
Her mass day.
Holy Mother of God.
And she had been communing with her Lord,
giving thanks for her many blessings.
At least one person watching on
the evening news saw her confusion,
wondering if she was wondering
whether Christ went down with her church too.

We build along the fault lines of hope.
It is our nature, and will be done
until the lovers sleep at peace,
until the bells ring out once more.

Until we are certain we are solid.

© Elise Batchelor March 2011

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