We Interrupt This…

We have had a series of storms since I last posted. Storm Dudley started six consecutive days of power outages, landline disruption and no mobile signal, since that one was swiftly followed by Storms Eunice and Frederick. Living as we do in a rural outpost of Dowra we are prepared for storms and occasional blackouts, but this winter has been the most challenging power wise. Even the arctic winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 did not pose challenges beyond snow and ice rink roads. Storm Barra was our first blackout, with some water pressure problems ensuing. Though we didn’t have the problems of friends in their eighth decade living further uphill from us who were without power for four days solid. They missed their telly, but coped otherwise. We do. But by the sixth day of random power outages I was certainly feeling a bit frayed at the edges. The prospect of snow overnight had me in full preparation mode, cooking at midday because cooking in twilight even by the glow of a head torch if you do have a gas stove has some challenges.

Sidebar: I never heard thundersnow and saw lightning in winter until I moved to Ireland. Don’t know if it is a unique weather feature to this island. Certainly the high winds are not unique and are the culprit for the power outs.

At any rate, in between blessing the Electricity Board crews and Eir phone repair people shinning up telephone poles in winds in excess of 43kph, my friend from South Africa reminded me that random daily power outs are what Johannesburg experiences all the time. So…counting my blessings even if I do feel a bit frazzled.

I was ringing the Electricity Fault Line so often my husband said that we have a t-shirt made for me emblazoned with the slogan “I am part of a known fault!”

But these interruptions are mere irritations when compared with the storms that have loomed on the international stage. But the experiences of the past ten days or so did give rise to certain reflections.

How to Undermine

Harry people until the unpredictability-
the routine dropped, changed priorities
diverting and disrupting-
unmoors them 
from the margins 
guard-railing their life.

Steal the sense of control 
over the small details that are
the adhesive tape holding the day together.
The day has got away from you,
hi-jacked, held hostage,

Make them feel robbed,
that the mortgage on life
has been foreclosed,
which is not fair.
It was supposed to be fair.
It was supposed to be fair!

Induce vertigo. Say that
the poles are switched, the globe’s axis
shifted, and everything is
especially the stomach.

is completely recognisable.
The labels’ meaning has 
reversed, so
you question that you have
properly understood.
Surely not, but…

Deny access to the mother lode.
When there is a cave in
say it was their own fault,
they had it coming.
Leave them believing lies.

Gimme Shelter To Ride Out the Storm

‘Riders of the Storm’ is the prompt in the inbox from #30DaysOfSummerWritingChallenge this morning. Certainly this month has seen some uncharacteristically stormy,thundery weather, the kind of weather that broods like Heathcliff- the drama never seems to be able to hit its climax and resolve. It’s true that we have seen some extreme rain storms after a relatively dry (for Ireland) winter and spring this month. Deluges that last five minutes and can manage to make the storm drains overflow shift into bursts of sunshine. It has been close but not particularly hot, although when that sun does break through it can feel clammy. The air felt extra heavy . The old dog moped. The cats were fractious with one another. You longed for a breeze. Or a real storm to clear it all up. So the Poetry Daily starts the week with one song from my teens as the prompt and another one lending itself to the title. (It is chastening to know that you are old enough for songs that were the playlist of one’s youth are now ‘classic.’ It feels like I have been relegated to the same category as vintage cars!)

Gimme Shelter

Fickle month of flinching showers
alternating with deluges
guillotining the gladioli.
You never know where you are,
or how to dress. Who to be.
Or prepare.
Weather is the autocrat
in the oligarchy of climate change.

Though it can be, sometimes
a season of fierce sunshine
cracking through the downpour.
There have been rainbows
to wish upon...

that we may all be well,
be happy, be released
from the terror of close thunder
that shakes,
the lightening
that strikes,
making the house's foundations

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured image Photo by Max LaRochelle on Unsplash

When the Wind Blows

I am writing this as Storm Ali’s wind is blowing across our little acre in West Cavan. Living out in rural districts makes you pretty sanguine about extreme weather, but I will admit it is a bit bowel loosening (in a Stephen King kind of way) as you sit on the loo to hear tree limbs scrape across the flat roof of the bathroom extension.

When the Wind Blows

But you sleep through most of the storm
snug in your strange dreams of fictional spinsters
named Miss Milner
who presents you with a shoebox of incomplete accounts
that you heroically have to get
into chronological order.

But timelines are skewed.
They also overlap.
You can taste the “Eat Me!” Cake
that makes your head scrape the ceiling
until you want to donate it
to the Red Queen’s chopping block.

When awake
the storm still stews in its teacup.
The cats do not want to go outside.
Even The Wild One purrs by my side
as I draft this account.
The urge to huddle is strong.
Even among Cool Cats who would like to consider themselves
Street Fighting Men.

The willow’s trunk-
the one by the prayer cairn
in the Fairy Garden-
has split in two.
The sunflowers –
The ones called American Giant –
are lying face down.

Copyright 2018 Bee Smith