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Saturday, 22 November 2008

Anatomy of a Storm

Someone let this so voracious creature
loose above our heads. Some mad scientist
(all scientists are mad, faith-mad, of narrow
focus - or ignored), some politician
someone, thing, manipulated chance or
circumstance until the masses, mismatched,
massed against each other, slowly moved, then
quickened, whirled like Dervishes beyond dance
round each other. Some ministry or flow
of air or trait of human nature stirred
the growing cauldron, poured in energy.

With energy came arrogance - or so
it seemed to displaced columns, refugees,
concretions, nondescript free-fallers... Puffed-
up, swept-up, sweeping upwards, bursting through
the cloud shelf, scorching sky and atmosphere,
then falling back exhausted, great and good
and those behind the great and good became
charged particle or thunderbolt, loose cannon
in the making. And as a twig or leaf
is steered by currents in a stream, so is
this darkness steered by its environment,

by carbon footprint or prevailing wind,
some toxic brew, a slight imbalance in
the status quo, a twist of fate (or faith),
too little knowledge or too much. But someone
tempted this thing here, confusing cause
with consequence. Now aftermath is all -
or all we've got - and makes of it our frenzied
link to fury on a God-like scale. The
final curtain falls, no bang nor whimper here,
just thunder modulating to the howls
of earth-survivors with their earthly fears.

Like ink dropped into water, darkness spreads
until the very jar forgets there has been light,
and out at sea the last of our divides,
the one between the ocean and the air,
dissolves in spray. The wind drags surface
sheets of water like rag dolls, and corkscrews
them the way magicians fan their cards. The
bottom line is both that undercurrents
flow against the tide, and that we cannot
know or fathom out which card to choose, which
one The Mighty Thaumaturge pre-destined.


Lucy said...

This is magnificent. The drama of the sky always defeats me in terms of writing about it, but you have succeeded. I must read it again...

Dave King said...

Thanks Lucy, much appreciated.

Shadow said...

this is amazing! i love the skies and your description has me completely mesmerised!

Dave King said...

Again, thanks very much.

Liz said...

Such is the force of nature described in your words.

Your incredible poem reminds me of New Zealand artist Colin McCahon's Storm Warning. Colin used the power of words in combination with his art to describe events in teh context of nature.

Great work Dave. Keep sharing you're a talented writer and poet.

All the best

Dave King said...

Mad Bush Farm Crew

Thanks for that. I must look up Colin McCahon. Sounds interesting.

Cloudia said...

Great sky - but richer description!

Dave King said...

Great compliment! Thanks.

Jim Murdoch said...

Quite good, Dave. I especially liked the opening two lines to the last stanza and the internal rhyme, wind drags / rag dolls, was excellent I would have a wee look at your punctuation however. The first stanza reads like a single sentence to me and I think you're missing a closing dash after 'it seemed' in the second stanza. Also 'cauldron' was misspelled. Do you think undercurrent would work better than 'deep current'?

Dots said...

'With energy came arrogance'.... is it always inevitable? Like with power comes corruption... but with power also comes responsibilty..
Loved your writing... what you write says something subtle, underneath the words that you write... makes one think.


Dave King said...

Thanks for that. Am not sure if you meant that the first verse should be one sentence. If so, am not sure about that, but will certainly correct the sp. Off the top of my head, I can see the force of undercurrent, but think it would have to be undercurrents - which is technically inaccurate.

Welcome and many thanks. No, I am sure it is not inevitable, but often is so.

swiss said...

all scientists are mad!!?
nope, can't be having that!

swiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MuseSwings said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog! Your poem is wonderful - very strong, energetic and descriptive. I'll be back to read more.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dear Dave, great poem indeed, and a great surprise to find it.
And I always arrive late considering the comments.
I am reading and talking of Shelley to a final class in these days, I can hear something close to Ode To The West Wind here.
Best wishes, Davide

Anonymous said...

Dave, this is one of the reasons why I love English language although I believe I will never master it. Fascinating.

Dave King said...


faith-mad. I think they have to be. It's a very special kind of madness, something akin to religious zeal. Or ignored.

Muse Swings

I enjoyed my visit. Thanks for yours.


Wow! I've never been compared with Shelley before! Praise indeed! Thanks.


doubt that any of us master it, but thanks for the compliment.

Anonymous said...

The last verse is magnificent: I love the ink simile and the images you conjure up with 'the wind drags surface / sheets like rag dolls, and corkscrews / them the way magicians fan their cards'. Such a density of simile and metaphor doesn't usually work. I have to confess ignorance of 'The Might Thaumaturge'. I'll have to Google.

Janice Thomson said...

"...great and good and those behind the great and good became
charged particle or thunderbolt, loose cannon in the making."
Isn't this the way of the general masses who follow leaders without deep reflection of what they stand for. I quite liked this strong metaphorical poem of the anatomy of a storm and human actions.

Anonymous said...

Fine, rich stuff, Dave, whether taken as meteorological or metaphorical.

Dave King said...


I found your comments very reassuring as I thought long and hard about dropping that last verse, in part for the reason you mention.


Thanks for that, the attempt to construct an on-going metaphor of the two was where I began - after the first line just floated into my mind.


yes, it was meant as metaphor, but I did make it as meteorologically
accurate as possible.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I think your choice of photograph at the end of the poem says it all - I see the whole poem as a metaphor. I love the simile of ink dropped in water - very powerful.

Tumblewords: said...

A delightful read. The many layers are a treasure as well as the internal rhyming which created the 'storm' and drang of sky and life.

Marion McCready said...

I'm never entirely sure what makes a poem a prose poem but this strikes me as a prose poem. Lots of striking images esp. the dervishes and the rag dolls. Well done!

Dave King said...

Weaver of Grass

That is very encouraging, thanks. The poem was meant to be one long metaphor, but I wasn't sure it would work.


Thanks for that, and thanks for dropping by.


I share your doubt about what is and what is not a prose poem, but I gladly settle for the thrust of your comment. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I could say this is brilliant, but that wouldn't even begin to express the electricity in this piece, Dave. Awesome.

Kat Mortensen said...

Dave, I'd never heard the term "Thaumaturge" before so, I googled it and read about it on Wikipedia. What a fantastic word and ideology. I will store that one away for future use.

I'm enjoying your increasingly.

Dave King said...


So sorry I overlooked this earlier. Not sure how that happened. Will have to review my system!!
Thanks for the comment, though. Much appreciated - not sure full deserved, but I'm willing tolet that go!

Dave King said...


Yes, avery useful term. I am in the process of using it again in another poem, but I will try not to overuse it. (Doesn't always scan very well, though.)