Its often called idyllic
Our northern tropic coast
And for those who live along it
The place they cherish most
But none should be complacent
Where summer storms abound
And most have made their selves prepared
Lest one should come around.

For every year the cyclones
Are spawned far out to sea
And many tales there have been told
Of force one and two and three
But never in the annals
Of any man that’s still alive
Was ever faced the awesome threat
Of category five.

It was late into the season

In March of this same year
When a cyclone they named ‘Larry’
(At first, nothing much to fear)
Slowly gained momentum,
None knew what was in store
For instead of roaming safe at sea
It tracked steady for the shore.

Westward, an unerring course
That was the ominous sign
And up and down our tropic coast
All prayed the sun would shine.
For several days, its grim intent
Maintained a western drive
Force three to four, when at our door
Dear Lord! -  was rated five.
In the townships and the homesteads
Through the afternoon and night
Folk took final measures
Hoped all was battened tight.
Through the first hours of morning
Not many of them slept
And even the faint hearted
Were forgiven when they wept.

o break of dawn that morning

The sky purple, green and black
With jagged spurs of lightning
And the wind came at its back.
A howling, growling buttress
Funnelled down the streets
And the rain in driven torrents
Fell in horizontal sheets.

The wind a constant howling
In demented frenzy grew
With the sound of rending metal
As airborne objects flew.
So many now lamented
How soon before it pass
While the noise grew ever louder
With the sound of shattered glass

When the wind at first abated
Most knew t’was not the last
As the eerie calm misstated
That the worst indeed had passed.
For the ‘Eye’ that was upon them
Left all as one, forlorn
As much to say, they all were trapped
In the middle of the storm.

The few who braved the open

Retreated now in dread
As the wind reversed its motion
With the force of falling lead.
No words there are that can describe
That giant turbine wail
As the composite detritus
Was ground within its tail.

The people stared in horror
As the wind now reached a peak
All cowered in sheltered corners
Nor anyone could speak.
Nerves stretched to the limit
As roofs were swept away
And the very walls imploded
Some feared a judgement day.

Without a let or hindrance
The tempest raged untamed
And left no means of comfort
For the young, the old and lamed.
Little children whimpered
No shame in this - no shame
For hundreds all around them
Were fearful just the same.

Though shattered, their conviction

That such things will surely pass
The flying debris all around them
Finally settled on the grass.
In trembling trepidation
They ventured out to clearing skies
What utter desolation - God!
Right there before their eyes.

They little saw, what was before
No building left unscathed
And from the twisted, tangled wreck
Very little could be saved.
We should give pause, to ponder though
When counting of the cost
In spite of such destruction
How no single life was lost.

With all human life accounted
Spare a thought, at least
By turning your attention
From man to bird and beast.
From every forest tree you’ll see
Both leaf and limb was stripped
And others tall, with roots and all
From the very earth were ripped.


Nature will recover,

The scars will all soon fade
Again we all may cherish
Both beach and forest glade
But remember well this missive
And pray you’ll never see
Such awesome force as ‘Larry’
Come storming from the sea.

Rodd Sherwin  ©

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