(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
‘You couldn’t make it up’?
We did. A little bit.
We massaged numbers
of the dead; the looters;
those left un-housed, unclothed,
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)