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Friday, 29 April 2011

Signs of the Times: And the Stars Fell on Alabama


Tuscaloosa Children's Theatre presents the Adventures of Tom Sawyer in the Bama Theatre, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
: photo by Carol M. Highsmith, 16 April 2010 (George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs, Library of Congress)

The many masks of the whirling, pulsating stars. A venerable tradition in the time of Andrew Marvell held that momentous historical events were always heralded by unusual occurrences in nature.

A secret Cause does sure those Signs ordain

Fore boding Princes falls, and seldom vain.

Andrew Marvell (1621-1678): from A Poem upon the Death of O.[liver] C.[Cromwell", 1658, in Miscellaneous Poems, 1681

Lightning strikes at the heart of the massive tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa and continued on to Birmingham, Alabama: photo by Saxon McClamma, 27 April 2011

Tuscaloosa Tornado as seen from UAB campus: photo by Saxon McClamma, 27 April 2011

A large tornado sweeps through Limestone County, south of Athens, Alabama, 27 April 2011: photo by Gary Cosby Jr./The Decatur Daily/AP

Overnight tornadoes left part of Pratt City, Alabama in ruins, 28 April 2011: photo by Marvin Gentry/Reuters

Concrete steps lead to nothing after a tornado demolished a mobile home in Preston, Mississippi, 27 April 2011; the home and one next to it were blown about 100 feet away into a cow pasture; three related women died at the site: photo by Rogelio V. Solis/AP




cause-boding heart
seen through
left nothing

next cow

women died

our eye our storm
rain shred flesh
dog corpse wound lick

force of pushing souls
forward to history

yang one sided
kaliyuga downtrope
unenlightened by
Spring weeds 'tween shards
wind crying for dead kids




TC said...


Many thanks.

Let that stand as our prayer for the dead and the living.

To be pushed by the righteous anger of a justifiably outraged Nature into History is to be pushed out of the Garden and over the Falls.

And while this was happening, two billion people round the globe were watching celebrities with funny hats perform in the media theatre aka hallowed cathedral of another dead Empire. Watching on Al Jazeera as the royal darlings smirked their way through the vows to cherish till death do them part in global closeup, my attention wandered to thoughts of stars pulsating and whirling like Van Gogh pinwheels and falling in lightning bolts and swarms of great grey downspouts and funnel chutes through the troubled atmosphere over Alabama.

And too I worried the potted ferns had been parked atop the graves in the Poets' Corner.

"...many of Marvell's contemporaries believed deeply that the world was drawing to an end."

TC said...

Alabama is the Concrete Form of the Human Abstract Everywhere

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Thanks for the stark contrast between the false and the real, the connection is completed for me. While reading the Marvell poems and some of the commentary to the posts, I kept coming back to the thought of how modern, how contemporary his words and images and tone.

That is the connection I kept feeling and this post completes it - we feel today very much as he felt then and, yes, there is that overwhelming feeling that we are nearing the end now.

The signs portend ... whether literally or metaphorically, it really is the same.

TC said...


Yes, I think Marvell captures the barometer drop in the silent approach of terror exactly.

The contemporary tenor of the matter is now the vehicle stalled on the jammed freeway exit fleeing the next disaster. But which way to run?

Ed Baker said...

old old saying popped up
say around the time of that A-Bomb:

you can run but
you just can't hide

hey, I was just a thought that struck me:

I was born PRE The Atomic Bomb !

WOWOW... no wonder I am phuching crazy... that's the way I maintain my

(7 confirmed tornadoes around here during this storm/event... one hit Andrews Air Force Base... no damage reported...

I guess that our area is protected by all of the Hot Air up on Capitol Hill