Poems, Stories and Personal Accounts

The Earthquake
by Arthur H. Buckley

The city slept, nor dreamed of danger
lurking in the earth below.

The patient, uncomplaining earth that bore
upon its placid breast
their churches, schools and homes.

The Earth that had not e'en complained
when miners came
and scarred its grassy slopes in greedy quest for gold,
but rather yielded up to them its golden treasure
far beyond their fondest dreams.

The lowly Earth that bore alike
the daily tread of men and little children,
biding its time.

And now the Earth rebelled
and shook men from their slumbers
as if to show that when it willed,
man's works were but as dust.

Wracked by the agony of insults long endured
it writhed and twisted, heaved and shook
and moaned and groaned aloud.

And men were shaken from their beds
and rushed from out their flimsy falling houses.

As lights went out and sirens screamed
as fires increased the horror of that awful night.

For seconds only did the horrid shocks endure
and then the Earth lay quiet
save for convulsive shudders
which wracked it now and then.

And when the morning dawned,
men viewed with awe the havoc
wrought by the tortured Earth.

Great gaping wounds defaced their proudest works,
walls were fallen, homes destroyed
and crumbled into dust.

Thus in a monent's madness had the sullen Earth
laid low the fruit of years of sweat and toil.

Thus was the gold once filched from out Earth's bosom
torn from the childish grasp of men
and scattered in the dust.

Deep down the stolid Earth once more
could lie content,

For man must now bow deep...
respect the power whence once he sprang.

©1/2002 by Arthur H. Buckley/Diane B. Pile