"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ankle High


I dance the drumline,
the steady beat of surviving
pulsing through legs
mud etched by a river scream.

There is hell in high water
fighting the Jesus strength
to see another tomorrow.

I breathe cries, the steady moan
of desperation, the death howl
raking hope I’ll ever reach solid ground.

Breaking through the horror
I hear a camouflaged Gabriel
crying, “Keep walking, your feet
can carry you beyond the water line.”

This mud sludge apocalypse
demonizing water has been eager
to write my obituary, but I’m crossing
into the ankle high salvation of an angel horizon
shining with the warmth of two reaching hands.

©Susie Clevenger 2017



As many of you may know I live in Houston. Hurricane Harvey (tropical storm for us) has caused, well, hell in Texas. My family and I are safe and didn't experience flooding. I wrote this poem for those who had to take the treacherous water walk to safety. The photo at the top is Dawn looking out Lake Houston where we live. The song is one my daughters, Dawn and Carrie, wrote around a year ago, but rerecorded it in my kitchen after the worst of the rain passed. 

It is hard to explain how we felt or how we feel now. Perhaps this will give you some insight. A friend of mine, Dr. Donna G Hughes, who is a psychologist states it this way.



13 comments :

Marian said...

I love you, Susie. xo

Toni Spencer said...

I was going to say, this puts me in mind of old time gospel songs but then you explained it was a song in your notes. I am so glad you and your family is safe. I hope you remain so.

telltaletherapy said...

Loved this! Your poem reads like a Gospel song and has all the authenticity of first hand accounting

"This mud sludge apocalypse
demonizing water has been eager
to write my obituary"

p.s. glad you are safe and dry Susie.

Rommy said...

Oh my goodness, I am so glad you are safe. Yes, this piece does feel like an old hymnal, with all the power and soul that implies.

Martin Kloess said...

Your situation puts a deeper meaning and strength to this. Good to know you are alright.

angieinspired said...

wow, Susie...so close to home. I'm glad your family escaped with your lives and homes in tact. "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it." Song of Solomon 8: 7

brudberg said...

It's so hard to understand the size of such disaster... there are many ways of not being ok, and sometimes being spared can feel even worse. Being survivor has its own challenges. Stay safe.

ayala said...

Beautiful poem. My heart is with Texas. Xo

Kerry O'Connor said...

“Keep walking, your feet
can carry you beyond the water line.”

I do not know if this is always true but I am glad it proved to be this time.

Jim said...

Thank you, Susie. This is a nice tribute to those who suffered loss and to the now approaching 80 deaths. I'm predicting close to 100 from the storm. We had no water in our house either. Our total rainfall was around 40 inches. Mrs Jim and are helping with relief, our church is a distribution center. Then our crews have been working on flooded houses. Mrs. Jim and I have inside jobs.

Sara McNulty said...

So glad you are safe, Susie. Your poem was like a song of hope. Thanks for sharing the writing at the end, which really brings things into perspective. Seeking help can be a healthy answer.

Brendan MacOdrum said...

That walk to safety was a harrow that so darkly resonated in me. Any who have lifted sandbags against hope or hunkered down under big winds knows what a precipice that trek is. "I dance the drumline" is the miracle of walking through. Houston has a long, long, long way to go.

Outlawyer said...

An intense and apt poem. We went through some of this in New York with Sandy and Irene. The displacement is so hard to understand. Glad you are okay and so sorry for those who are not. K.

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