THE HURRICANE AND ELAINE

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A reflective poem by RL Bartholomew about his stoical grandmother

Put aside that bomb
of letters
sitting in a pile –
squat tense unopened.

Lean back and feel
the wind’s pale rush as it whips
through this house
curtains for colours, memory.

Outside, the pitched sounds
of kids at play would rise above
the dark bass of a windsock
or crushed by the angry bellow
of a 737, only to rise again.

Now you hear the warnings on the radio
and feel glad it’s bread tonight
not soup, to watch it –
pot and all – fly through the window.

And yet you will hold it all –
book breeze band.

The shoreline girls will watch for you
tonight
-graceful sentinels –
their slender arms will trip
their hearts will kiss the ground
again
till their backs split
open wide.

This periodic pummelling is always a surprise
though the sea you beautify has never been calm
you would part your way to another week,
another year, another heartbreaking renaissance.

Who builds again, solid, with love
and with deeper roots?

In fear, at the appointed time,
your neighbours will crowd to yours
again
when a cold rain clears the streets
and the hot blast stares down a runway.

RL Bartholomew is a journalist, teacher and writer. He was born In Upper Pearls, a fishing village in Grenada West Indies.  He moved to England when he was 14 years old. Bartholomew is currently working on his first volume of poetry which will feature the sea as its central theme.

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