Image by Caroline Forbes

Hurricane Hits England

Grace Nichols


Hurricane Hits England

Grace Nichols


Hurricane Hits England

Hurricane Hits England

 

It took a hurricane, to bring her closer
To the landscape
Half the night she lay awake,
The howling ship of the wing,
Its gathering rage,
Like some dark ancestral spectre,
Fearful and reassuring:

Talk to me Huracan
Talk to me Oya
Talk to me Shango
And Hattie
My sweeping, back-home cousin.

Tell me why you visit
An English coast?
What is the meaning
Of old tongues
Reaping havoc
In new places?

The blinding illumination,
Even as you short-
Circuit us
Into further darkness?

What is the meaning of trees
Falling heavy as whales
Their crusted roots
Their cratered graves?

O why is my heart unchained?
Typical Oya of the Weather,
I am aligning myself to you,
I am following the movement of your winds,
I am riding the mystery of your storm.

Ah, sweet mystery,
Come to break the frozen lake in me,
Shaking the foundations of the very trees
within me,
Come to let me know
That the earth is the earth is the earth.


from I Have Crossed an Ocean (Bloodaxe, 2009), © Grace Nichols 1996, used by permission of the author c/o Curtis Brown literary agency.