Here Be Dragons

A 19th-century Japanese map, the Jishin-no-ben, depicts a dragon associated with
causing earthquakes.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Hic Sunt Dracones (“Here Be Dragons”)
Annette Marie Hyder

So many people —

hundreds shed like tears
and falling drop by drop
into the sea.

I am left wishing for things
to give —
Aqua-Lungs to carry on
under the crushing weight of waves
gills and fins to pass out like life jackets
pearls pulled from the throats of mollusks
to transform into handfuls of wisdom given
to them as they all go
tumbling toward infinity.

Ancient cartographers drew dragons
on their maps
and warned of traveling across treacherous waters
and told of how the waves can call to us
whisper through our songs
curl their lips and show teeth
that gleam.

But what of when water walks/stalks the land
comes and grabs people by the hand
and drags them off and away?

Safe and dry
and the whole Pacific away
here in the USA
I see events on my computer screen
electronically hear the roar of the waves
and feel the stinging spray.

Sorrow is a rising tide
flooding the shore of us all.

Links to news coverage of Japanese earthquake and tsunami:

From The Oregonian:

“Japan earthquake: March 12, 2011

The magnitude 8.9 quake triggered a tsunami which flooded areas along
the coast. The cooling systems of several reactors went off line,
adding another layer of worry to people in Japan and across the world.”

From The Wall Street Journal:

“Quake, Tsunami Slam Japan

Tens of thousands of Self-Defense Forces searched desperately for
survivors in earthquake-ravaged northern Japan on Saturday as rescue and
relief efforts went into full force, even as concerns rose that a
radiation leak may have occurred at a nuclear-power facility in the
country.” reports that Japan is still online. reports on how the USA is facing tsunami fears along its West coast.

Voice of America reports that nuclear reactors are at risk of exploding. has NASA satellite photos that show devastation from Japan quake and tsunami. has a photo essay of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. You will see cars posed in balletic poses, ships beached like whales on dry land, flattened houses, a huge dragon of smoke launching into the air and appalling apocalyptic scenes.

My cousin Keith lives in Japan and teaches English and is — not safe and sound, but — safe and heavyhearted.

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