by slighte   Sep 13, 2011

If we were to sleep
with no ceiling,
we could have woken
to not only falling stars
that night, but the whole
in our bedroom.

We would have been safer then.

But the ceiling
buckled, and the attic -
its cobwebs, its dust -
has been on our floor
since September.

The universe lights could have given
distraction from the screaming.
But the tarpaulin roof
is not nearly as bright as
the sky. So we still hear
the tearing of the earth,
the screeching of our sister,

every time.

We are learning about loss these days,
and they are teaching bravery in schools.
But still

you've held my hand
since September.

Written for a Year of Earthquakes.
4 September 2010-2011


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Latest Comments

  • 6 years ago

    by my blue eyes cry

    Brilliant! i love this! great work.

  • 6 years ago

    by Nobody

    Beautiful it is won well deserved.

  • 6 years ago

    by paige

    Not really sure what it means,but its beautiful! 5/5 xox

  • 7 years ago

    by vip

    Lovely poem!

  • 7 years ago

    by Saerelune

    When I first read this poem in our club, I had no idea that it was about earthquakes. I thought it had some symbolic meaning about two lovers, with these ethereal images and the sense of a "we" being there in all the chaos.

    Now you've submitted this poem, along with a note, I have begun to appreciate this piece even more. I could feel the fear but also the unity of human-kind.

    Besides your ability to take simple, cliche themes, and turn them into something very personal and unique with simplicity ... I also admire the way you make use of enjambment. It's very natural, letting the reader breathe whenever it's necessary, but also allowing them to hold their breath in amazement.

    The only critique I have is that the first two lines don't read as smoothly as the rest. I suggest changing them to this:
    "If we were to sleep
    with no ceiling, that night"
    And remove "that night" in the fifth line.

    I must say that I enjoyed the first three stanzas the most (from "If we" till "every time."), because they shift into each other with ease, and because they are packed with so much horror and sadness. The last stanzas were enjoyable too, but very different. The reader has to get used to this change in situation - suddenly away from the universe and the dreams, suddenly back in school. Don't get me wrong: it's a good thing to work with twists at the end of a poem. It's as if you were reminiscing about these earthquakes while you were in class, and suddenly the teacher wakes you up with a question. You don't care and just drift back into your memories, back to how this "you" has held your hand since September. It has a soft feeling to it.

    I am just wondering what these last two lines really mean. Perhaps these events have been holding you since September, never letting go, and you couldn't let go either. But since the image (holding your hand) is quite comforting, I am a bit puzzled about it.

    Nevertheless, this is indeed a piece of art. I wouldn't change too much about it.