The Tsunami...

The Tsunami...

In memory of all those who died in, and all those who lived through, the tsunami that struck the countries of the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004.


In the deepness, a heaving of the earth. I am tensing, straining, the pressure too great. I am tearing, ripping, fragmenting. The gash is 600 miles long. There is thunder under the ocean as I heave and split. Frightened fish flee, their communities scattered. The water rushes over my plunging wound.

I am thrown off kilter in my revolution about the stars, a momentary faltering...


A sudden precipitous displacement of the ocean floor and I am falling, swirling, a lethal underwater waterfall.

The earth gives up her energy to the gashing waves. I am swelling, overflowing; there is nowhere to go but outwards. I am a deadly wave fleeing the rupture, my speed and breadth terrifying. I am churning with the energy of the earth's cry.


I am the shoreline and the people lining the beaches, holidaying, working, living, sleeping. I am the lands that the gigantic wave races towards. I am the unsuspecting, the innocent, the unprepared, the unguarded. The tremors of the earth are felt, but only the animals heed it. The animals, the elephants and tigers, wild dogs and birds, are all moving inland quickly: the rumbling earth, the rush of seawater in the ear, fearsome. An animal's instinct for self-preservation intact in the way the people lining the beach to watch the sucking out of the water, its disappearance at the horizon, aren't.

I am the children playing on the emptied expanse of beach. I am laughing at the sudden low tide, running on wet sand.


I am the tide that is drawing back to lash the land impeding the flow. I am the striking wall of water. I cannot stop. I am rushing at 500 miles an hour. I am many tons of force. And I cannot stop. I cannot abate the fury unleashed by the underwater earthquake, the crack on the ocean floor.

You in the heavens, hear me! I did not mean this destruction...

I surge towards the beach where the people are talking and watching.

I surge with the full force of nature towards an unprepared land.

There is no early warning system to broadcast far and wide my deadly coming. No-one flees.


I flood onto the beach, a great wide water dragon roaring, the children, the sun bathers, wash into me. I keep surging, my water filling with mud, churning, rushing into villages, buildings, hotels, houses, huts, cars, pouring over the land in unrelenting fury, dragging boats, cars, trees, the detritus of broken homes, bashing, tearing apart the world in floodwaters.

I draw back, leaving bodies littered on the sand like beached fish.


Then I am flowing forward again, I cannot stop; I hammer the land with tons of force, my swirling waters, rushing far inland, devastating the landscape. The dead and the wounded float everywhere in me. I hear the underwater screams of terror of those who are drowning calling for their loved ones. My salt water fills their lungs, intruding, squeezing out the air. Their bodies are battered. Those lucky and strong enough to swim with my furious currents are wounded by sharp bits of broken things. More die than survive.

I lash and subside, lash and subside, gradually losing my momentum, sliding back out to sea where I glitter under the hot sun, gently lapping as if I had never risen like furious thunder and drowned the land.


I am the mother who sees the wall of sea falling on the beach and runs to catch her toddlers. I am the mother whose children slip out of her desperate grasp, who is holding her breath underwater, who is screaming her children’s names silently in the wave throwing her inland like broken driftwood. I am the children’s terror, the children who will die in less than a minute as they cry, “Mama…”

I am all the desolate and broken children who listlessly survey the torn landscape looking for their fathers and mothers, their brothers and sisters…

I am the grieving of the living: the surviving wounded, some of whom will die from preventable gangrene; the ones gone mad with grief screaming at the sea to give back their families. I am the dead whose souls float over the arc of land by the ocean mourning the loss of their lives. I fly with the angels who have gathered in throngs to comfort those who walk in shock and grief…


In the inlets, bays, bodies bob, like swollen, broken mannequins. The land is strewn with bodies; the death count rising ever higher. Where the tsunami hit: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Somalia, Myanmar, Maldives, Malaysia, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Kenya. Whole islands have disappeared. Entire villages wiped out. Every country in the world has lost citizens.

I am the stench of decay everywhere.


And I am the love of a shocked and stunned world pouring in.

I am the aid pouring in: the able-bodied helpers, finding the dead, burying, cremating, packing identified bodies, parts of bodies, into body-bags for airflights to foreign lands; the food and blankets being handed out, supplies air dropped in remote regions. I am the forensics teams taking DNA, teeth for dental records, anything to positively identify the dead. For the living need to bring closure, and burial rights, to their loved ones.

I am the shelters that house the grieving homeless masses while the governments decide what to do; how far back from the sea to rebuild. I am the early warning system being installed in byoys bobbing on the ocean and speed detectors under the waves.

I am the love of the world pouring in, the millions of dollars pledged and raised and offered for survival, for reconstruction.

How can we comfort you? How can we help you? How can we show you our caring, concern, support, allegiance?

How can we ensure you, who are among the poorest peoples in the world, are never caught unaware again?


And I am the slow rebuilding, plank by plank, nail by nail, mortar and thatch and brick and glass, creating our habitat despite the fear of the sea, the memories of the lush paradise that was, will be, and until the ocean rushes from the earth’s rupturing, as tectonic plates slide one beneath the other, once more…


©2005 by Brenda Clews

Dec. 26 2004
yo u r :: h e l p :: c o u n t s!

red cross/
red crescent

network for good
artsen zonder grenzen
/medecins sans frontières

Want to put this on your own blog/site? Here is the code

Apr 2024
Aug 2023
Oct 2022
May 2022
Oct 2021
Sep 2021
Jul 2021
May 2021
Jan 2021
Oct 2020
Aug 2020
Jul 2020
Jun 2020
May 2020
Dec 2019
Sep 2019
Aug 2019
Jul 2019
May 2019
Apr 2019
Feb 2019
Jan 2019
Nov 2018
Sep 2018
Aug 2018
Jul 2018
May 2018
Apr 2018
Mar 2018
Feb 2018
Jan 2018
Dec 2017
Nov 2017
Oct 2017
Sep 2017
Aug 2017
Jul 2017
Jun 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
Jul 2016
Jun 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
Jul 2015
Jun 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
Jul 2014
Jun 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
Jul 2013
Jun 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
Jul 2012
Jun 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
Jul 2011
Jun 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
Jul 2010
Jun 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
Jul 2009
Jun 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
Aug 2008
Jul 2008
Jun 2008
May 2008
Apr 2008
Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
Sep 2007
Aug 2007
Jul 2007
Jun 2007
May 2007
Apr 2007
Mar 2007
Feb 2007
Jan 2007
Dec 2006
Nov 2006
Oct 2006
Sep 2006
Aug 2006
Jul 2006
Jun 2006
May 2006
Apr 2006
Mar 2006
Feb 2006
Jan 2006
Dec 2005
Nov 2005
Oct 2005
Sep 2005
Aug 2005
Jul 2005
Jun 2005
May 2005
Apr 2005
Mar 2005
Feb 2005
Jan 2005
Sep 2004
Jun 2004
May 2004
Oct 2003
RSS Feed