By Marsha Burks Megehee, Katrina survivor, Picayune, Mississippi
Jug: Thank you for including my poetry on Keeping Apace. I really enjoy your site. My 89-year-old dad is USA, retired.
This one was the most difficult I have ever written. I hope it gives a sense of having been there. I was. South Mississippi will never be what it was before August 29th, 2005. Please share.
Unfortunately, all the media seem to think it happened only in New Orleans. The only thing I can figure is that the people of South Mississippi had a chain saw in their hands by August 30th, instead of holding out an empty one for federal assistance.
(Written from the author's heart, on seeing the storm's aftermath in Bay St. Louis-Waveland, Mississippi. Although many of the ancient Southern Live Oak trees were destroyed, an amazing number survived America's worst natural disaster- Katrina, August Twenty-nine, 2005. In many places, only the Live Oaks remain.)
Live Oaks weeping shredded rubble tears,
For souls who perished in the wind and wave.
A curbside steeple - the church no longer here.
Stone steps now only lead to yesterday.
A yesterday before Katrina's winds and woe,
When landmarks stood the test of storm and time.
Historic mansions felt Gulf breezes blow,
Untold yesterdays, before August twenty-nine.
A day when lives were broken, hearts were torn,
By tempest winds and Hell's own twisted tide;
When loved ones died, or they survived to mourn.
With shredded rubble tears…the Live Oaks cried.
Grey-bearded Oaks, where Summer's children played,
Imagining sand castles on the shore.
Brave French explorers rested in the shade,
Of their leafy arbors, Centuries before.
Strong Live Oaks weeping for the towering pines,
Naked, bowing to a tempest's Southern Reel.
Twisted, daggered, post-Katrina clothes lines.
Tires perched high like Gulls, arrayed surreal.
In mounded, wave-built levees made of dreams
Survivors mine damp treasures of the past.
Unbelieving faces, haggard rescue teams.
The Oaks scorn Neptune's tide, Katrina's blast.
Their sentried alleys leading from the shore,
To stately spirit mansions of the mind,
Precious diamonds, that the Gulf Coast wore;
Ghost houses, that Katrina left behind.
Live Oaks reminding, Spring will come one day,
Green leaves emerge, forgetting sorrow's tide,
To shade God's Eden… rising by the Bay.
On August twenty-nine… the Live Oaks cried.
Marsha Burks Megehee
Katrina survivor, Picayune, MS
Visit Marsha’s website HERE.