Poem Hunter
When Katrina Came To Town
(1965 / Abor, Volta Region, Ghana)

When Katrina Came To Town

hurricane Katrina is in town, and the tall walls
of New Orleans, the heart of jazz
and the center of carnivals so ancient
lost its word in history to the downpour
on every lip in every corner a story waits
while neighbors reeled in anguish and homes fell
we heard the expiring murmurs of distress
wailing and weeping in every front
but New Orleans could not be comforted

in times like these, we strained to sing a hymn
yet, slowly we raised our voices filled with bitter tears
we dragged our hearts and our souls with lamentation
but the sea swelled and the roaring wind recharged fears
by the Dome we wondered when cometh our help
in frenzy our eyes turned to the one who once
in our despair and bleakness raised a hand
and winds and waves were quiet, but we shuddered
at the long absence of hope in agents of our love

with sewage washed down in every allay
the lonely and the homeless with a stifled cry
watched swimmers drown in the streams
frozen in despair the sight wiped sleep out of eyes
we heard it once when Tsunami came to town
when a playful wave lapped over the shoreline
became more boisterous than ever experienced
there the wall of water walked in through the blue sky,
unsuspecting souls with no where to run, were swallowed up
with the first wave, then flushed out never to be seen again.

today it is hurricane Katrina in town
with voices misplaced, brother, sister, mother, father
and child all lost, some scattered here-and-there, the dead
glaring like dislocated architecture asphyxiated by shock
sang songs of appalling spectacles of woe like when
years ago we walked through Mississippi, Louisiana
and Alabama hoodwinked our souls to ran in murk
today with babies that lie, bleeding and torn
on mothers’ breast, our bleeding souls watched from rooftops
when the confederate building buried the wounded alive

when the horrid arms of Katrina came to town
across the streets kids mourn the dead in their laps
mothers lingering in pain walked with opened arms
gathering scattered limbs beneath the rubbles
bloody, yet palpitating with yawns from the abyss
they asked for the reason of such storms
there was water, water and water everywhere
yet, there was no water to drink

surrounded by cruelties of hurricane Katrina
the rage of its furies and snares of the wind
the story of how Katrina came to town is muddled up
neighbors who once were enemies embraced each other
when their tears mingled freely with the flood
and those without hope and tired of the racking torment
without anyone to share their ills nor their lament
ended their stricken lives before the dawn came on them
but we still want to ask why no one cried when we wept

from a corner of my somewhere I want to say it all
but when my mouth opened the hole looks black
and the hole of it holds a shadow
someone kept saying to my wrecked soul
there's nothing to say boy, nothing to tell
there is nothing to cry for, it said with boldness
but the hole of our mouth holds a howl
when I think of his grace, my hope and healing
when our lives are rent, and we've lost all we built
when hurricane Katrina came to town

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Robert Frost

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Comments (1)

It is hard to write about a tragedy and you have done it well. However, it would urge you to cut some of the lines. It seems, well, deep as the flood waters and too much. Your best stanza, and it is really marvelous, is the last one. It is nearly a poem in itself. You might think of starting there and having that be your poem. It is creative, unique, and powerful. Raynette