Dirty Union

Dirty Union

Dirty union

Beginning with a confluence of forces,
La Nina’s warm fat seas playing tricks,

mother of all wet seasons in the not so sunshine state,
throw in a cyclone, hammering rain

on sodden ground, refusing any more drinks,
swollen tributaries, groaning banks

straining to control the heaving flow
of brown water and detritus.

Vigorously crushing all resistance,
the gargantuan river has its way,

bursting the banks,

pounding onwards, urgent but clumsy,
wild strength of river water, penetrating

barricaded suburbs, love-tidy homes and gardens,
shipshape business precincts, offices and shops,

revelling in the strange, the new,
devouring all with fetid breath and force,

yanking the hair of things long envied and despised,
floating restaurant, yacht, insidious walkway,

stripping away all fight with muscle and mass,
the power of the taking, rank defilement

of victims, punch-drunk on mud-scarred earth,
bereft and huddled in disbelief.



ps. One of a series of poems about the great flood of 2010/2011 in Queensland, Australia. The first in the series is In all Innocence.

18 thoughts on “Dirty Union

    1. Thanks kateshrewsday πŸ™‚ I wasn’t in Brisbane when the city went under, but watched it all on the tv. Our town and region also got flooded a couple of months before Brisbane – in a different way, roads all cut off for days on end, bridges and roads disappearing, flooded cane fields, food shortages etc., The street in Brisbane that we used to live in got really badly flooded (up to the rooftops) and our friends still live there – many who lived there have not returned because of the damage.

  1. A very ugly drunken brawl, indeed, Gabe! Love the imagery, particularly the “love-tidy homes” and the “yanking of hair of things long envied and despised” πŸ™‚

    Did you see in the news this week the havoc that La Nina has unleashed on poor little Tuvalu?

    1. Thanks bluebee – it was ugly πŸ˜‰ – I feel so sorry for the people of Tuvalu and it will probably only get worse if the seas rise more (contaminated ground water etc.,) and the drought continues.

  2. It is all very powerful, but I was particularly taken by this passage:
    “revelling in the strange, the new,
    devouring all with fetid breath and force,

    yanking the hair of things long envied and despised,
    floating restaurant, yacht, insidious walkway.”

    The last word there, “walkway,” sort of slips out from under your feet as you read.

  3. I agree with Aletha. I particularly like ‘yanking the hair of things long envied and despised’ as well as ‘punch drunk on mud-scarred earth.’ That’s what it was like. I don’t live in Brisbane as you know but I felt stunned, anxious and full of disbelief while the whole thing was going on. The power of nature was brought home with a thump. I fear that it will happen again.

    1. Watching the intense coverage on tv was totally weird and scary Selma – we are so exposed to disasters now with the 24hour news cycle, that it sort of makes it more overwhelming than in the past.

  4. Wow, such devastation expressed in a gracefully elegiac way. You paint a vivid picture of the destruction, my dear. The circumstances are depressing but your poem is delightful. I love it. Keep up the good job!

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