Too Many Times Out In a Storm — a Poem

“A poet is a man who manages,
in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms,
to be struck by lightning five or six times.”

— Randall Jarrell

Oh yes, it’s true I’ve stood out in storms, but never wrote
a single solitary verse.  I reveled in the chaotic insanity
without having the knowledge of rhyme and meter to know
what was poetry about it and what was prose — the crash
and the timber struck an untuned, untrained ear deafened.

So untrained, unused to the things of culture I considered
the wall cloud, the downburst, hail, and the whirling, gyring
funnelled winds fit for the visual arts — never once written
in pen and ink.  Ah, but I was but a neophyte not yet struck.

A child, barely a teen, fugitive from sudden squalline’s force,
in the shadow of a Red Oak, the falsest of shelters, I was struck
by my vulnerability– mortality — the deadly bolts, sucking winds.

I became a meteorologist — one who studies meteors of earth —
lithometeors, hydrometeors.  The meatier subjects of weather
were my meal before and after fast.  By its beauty, by its force
I was struck — the dance between the sublime and the vicious.

When I consider…

the cobalt charybdis that rages across the tabled plains,
with all the death and madness that accompanies its run,
has the ability to take a tea-swilling short story liar and scare
him into a Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge swilling Pulitzer laureate.

Trust me — there are two things in life you can’t outrun:
a twister and the muse that grabs you by the neck, tells
you to stop, turn around and face the fury… and versify!

3 thoughts on “Too Many Times Out In a Storm — a Poem

  1. This almost sounds like evangelism, and the last word has convinced me of it. I’m ignorant as to how good this poem is but I know it is, just like when I look up in the sky and know I see a storm’s approach.


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