Canute’s Tsunami

The sea was the whole world once:

it gave way (tectonically,

unwillingly, agonisingly slowly)

to land’s impatient, turgid thrust

but it has fought a slow and

asymmetric war ever since,

evaporating into the rain that

crumbles Everests into

the rotten stumps of teeth,

swallowing ships,

colluding with the Moon to

heap high tides on low coasts

and using Earth’s writhings to

unleash great waves of

unsowable salt over arable soil.


People are collateral damage in this war,

as irrelevant as cobwebs.

The sea will have back its dominion

and our folly is to think

we can stop it.

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  • Edith  On March 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Yes sad, but depressingly and worryingly . . . and frighteningly . . . so, so true.

    Words, and very often particularly YOUR words, have a strength and power all of their own . . . if only they had the eternal power to stem these tides!

  • Linda Munn  On March 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Such a timely poem. Tsunami/Japan so sad yet the effect caught so eloquently in Canute’s Tsuname. Continue with your word-smithing you’re doing great.

  • knittingknots  On March 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Wow…I love how you tied the imagery of the geology here…crumbles Everests into the rotten stumps of teeth…

    Now I have to admit I am a geology geek, so maybe I’m more open to that than some, but I found it extremely vivid and capturing so much of how everything we do is just cobwebs compared to the movement of the earth. Well done!

  • fridayam  On March 2, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Reblogged this on Fridayam's Blog.

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