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Sandy - A poem by Keith Ellis Print E-mail




I’m Sandy, too morally blank to be ashamed.

Born in Central American jungle heat,

sucking moisture from trees long nurtured

by the bloodied victims of protected tyrants.


Friendly pressures strengthened my monstrous growth,

leading me straight to candid Jamaica

to make boulders fly and smash the fragile

dwelling of the elderly owner and the owner.


In bare and slippery Haiti my wide wet wings

hastened the muddy burial of Jacqueline Tatille;

and her four, aged five to seventeen,

she had tried to save became her smothered company.


A category two they had upgraded me

on my way to defiant Cuba.

The most discerning could perceive

that my gusts and surges I had maximized

to equal the top category five.


Perfected thus my armoury

I pounced on Santiago:

the steed of monumental Maceo whinnied and shook;

four-month-old Roldán found his house’s walls

pinning his cradled infancy to the unyielding floor.

I tumbled trees as old as Hatuey,

wounded all that sustains life,

speeding in blind fury

through sleepy Oriente.


And everywhere the erstwhile livestock

lying stiffly swollen on the flattened fields.


In dispersed Bahamas

I swept away a banker and a pauper

and disguised my prideful surge

to give deceptive force

to my downgraded self.

Superstorm they would come to say.


I hurled granular sea waves

into Wall Street’s secret depths.

With whetted appetite I drowned houses and people,

tore forever from their mother’s arms

Connor aged five and Brandon, two;

while her Staten Island neighbours

impassive, mimicking me, gave no help.


Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, Bahamas, U.S.A:

the same winds and waters

caused moans and tears

desolation and death

in a few short days.

I imposed a suffering shared

reminding them of common humanity.


I’m now a memory spent in Canada’s vastness,

too morally blank to be ashamed.


But what of the suffering

enforced by one on the other:

the embargo inhumanly designed

for inhuman suffering,

suffering for half a century now,

from Flora ‘til me;

and for how much longer

will it, like me, be too morally blank

to be ashamed?


Keith Ellis

15 November 2012


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