History of Hurricanes

Teresa Cader

Because we cannot know—
we plant crops, make love in the light of our not-knowing
A Minuteman prods cows from the Green with his musket,
his waxed paper windows snapping in the wind,
stiletto stalks in the herb garden upright—Now
blown sideways—Now weighted down in genuflection,
not toward,
And a frail man holding an Imari teacup paces at daybreak
    in his courtyard in Kyoto
a cherry tree petaling the stones pink and slippery
    in the weeks he lay feverish
waiting for word from the doctor, checking for signs—Now
in the season of earthenware sturdiness and dependency
    it must begin, the season of his recovery
No whirling dervish on the radar, no radar, no brackets
no voices warning—no Voice—fugue of trees, lightning
Because we cannot know, we imagine
What will happen to me without you?
I know some things I remember—
the Delaware River two stories high inside the brick houses
cars floating past Trenton like a regiment on display
brown water climbing our basement stairs two at a time
Like months of remission—
        the eye shifts
the waxed paper windows
       burst behind the flapping shutters—
and how could he save his child after that calm,
a man who'd never seen a roof sheared off?
Across town the ninth graders in their cutoffs:
Science sucks, they grouse. Stupid History of hurricanes.
No one can remember one;
velocity, storm surge—
the earth churns as Isabel rips through Buzzard's Bay
A hurricane, as one meaning has it:
a large crowded assembly of fashionable people at a private house
The river cannot remember its flooding—
           I worry you will forget to check
the watermarks in time
An echo of feet on stone is all the neighbors
           knew of their neighbor,
a lover of cherry trees
and of his wife who prayed for him at the shrine,
her hair swept up in his favorite onyx comb
From History of Hurricanes by Teresa Cader. Copyright © 2009 by Teresa Cader. Used by permission of Northwestern University. All rights reserved.

Further Reading

Poems about Storms
A Crosstown Breeze
by Henry Taylor
by Andrew Marvell
Low Barometer
by Robert Bridges
Now Winter Nights Enlarge
by Thomas Campion
Of Politics, & Art
by Norman Dubie
Radar Data #12
by Lytton Smith
by Alan Shapiro
Stones in the Air
by Anna Journey
Storm Ending
by Jean Toomer
The Day Duke Raised: May 24th, 1974
by Quincy Troupe
The Snow Storm
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Storm
by Theodore Roethke
White Water
by John Montague
Poems About Weather
(Soma)tic 5: Storm SOAKED Bread
by CAConrad
Becoming Weather, 21
by Chris Martin
Snow-Bound [The sun that brief December day]
by John Greenleaf Whittier
The Book of a Thousand Eyes [Rain, queen]
by Lyn Hejinian
A Line-storm Song
by Robert Frost
A Winter Without Snow
by J. D. McClatchy
An Octave Above Thunder
by Carol Muske-Dukes
Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm
by Carl Phillips
Dispatches from Devereux Slough
by Mark Jarman
Even the Rain
by Agha Shahid Ali
by Eliza Griswold
by Miyazawa Kenji
Great Sleeps I Have Known
by Robin Becker
Identity Crisis
by F. D. Reeve
In April
by James Hearst
Into Bad Weather Bounding
by Bin Ramke
It Was Raining In Delft
by Peter Gizzi
L’Avenir est Quelque Chose
by Dobby Gibson
by William Cullen Bryant
Now Winter Nights Enlarge
by Thomas Campion
Ode to the West Wind
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Passage I
by Maureen N. McLane
Problems with Hurricanes
by Victor Hernández Cruz
by Vona Groarke
Radar Data #12
by Lytton Smith
by Claribel Alegría
by Elaine Terranova
Sitting Outside
by W. D. Snodgrass
by Alan Shapiro
by Naomi Shihab Nye
The Clouded Morning
by Jones Very
The Hurricane
by William Carlos Williams
The Snow Storm
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Storm
by Theodore Roethke
The Woman and the Flame
by Aimé Césaire
Today A Rainstorm Caught Me
by Matt Hart
Who Has Seen the Wind?
by Christina Rossetti