Friday, 15 May 2015

The Mourning After

(Source: Times of Israel feature of the international aid and rescue efforts made following the Nepal Earthquake, April 2015 The writer was freelance journalist Melanie Lidman).


The Mourning After

The pen, once deemed stronger

than a sword, is now less useful

than a smart phone or indeed

an axe when reporting figures,

facts as the earth cracks and

countless lives are wracked,

so hacks like me may count the

cost of mass disaster tourism.



Mother Nature’s seizure on the world’s

roof sucked. But not as bad as that.

The fancy funds from whence I come –

where every penny counts – shrieked

for coin of every mint wrung from those

who freak at sights of doe-eyed dolls

clutching ragged toys pulled from

the scattered chips of stone

they once called home.


I flew in on eagles’ wings

to my strut my journo stuff,

yet was beset by the blur of

iridescent colour made –

not from psalmic hues of sky and sun -

but Day-Glo coloured vests, hats and

pants with stripes enough to make Blake’s

tiger run.

‘You couldn’t make it up’?

We did. A little bit.

We massaged numbers

of the dead; the looters;

those left un-housed, unclothed,

not fed.

I still blush at what I did – or not.

Just watched, detached, the

bodies bagged; the maimed

mended, the starving made replete.

‘Quakes, floods are fine tableaux

when viewed from the vantage of

an eyrie. But in the flesh they’re

like another war. The frenzy fix

is great. But the mourning after?

I’m hung-over. Quietly appalled!

© Natalie Wood (16 May 2015)

1 comment:

Natalie Wood said...

When we're left quietly Nepal-led!