Posts Tagged ‘Jackson flood of 1979’

Poetry Friday round-up is with Michelle Kogan

Water Breaks

Floods begin as a drop,
rain from upstream flowing–
No control over Water’s
strength or where it wants to go.

Knock out soggy walls,
Strip muddy carpet,
Dig through disaster.
Build again.

At birth, water breaks,
baptizes an infant wrapped
in woven cloth.
Mother bathes her son
in warm water, rubs his clean skin.

Tears break as a single drop
washing my face,
bathing me in warm water,
where he kisses me,
says, “I love you.”
This is all I need.

Margaret Simon, draft 2019

On Tuesday, I attended a mini writer’s retreat at the Teche Center for the Arts. Clare led us through brainstorming a list of water words. Then we circled ones that stood out to us or told a story. I wrote this poem draft. It’s still a work in progress. I wonder if it contains too much.

In 1979, my childhood home flooded. I was a senior in high school with so much more on my mind than loss and rebuilding. My mother was the stronghold. She handled an amazing amount of mess and muck and insurance claims. There is a story, a bigger story than this poem could contain. After 40 years, that disaster still influences me. Maybe it’s finally time to write about it.

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.



Bad things continue to happen.  Bad things always happen.  Last week, my friend’s home was destroyed in a fire.  When I stopped by her hair salon to take her a bag of clothes and to offer some comfort, she said, “We’re going to be OK.”

I know she’s right.  We are all OK.

One Good Friday 37 years ago when I was a senior in high school, our house flooded.  I didn’t know it would be OK.  We left everything in haste to escape the rising waters.  The car stalled halfway down the street.  My family was rescued and, in the aftermath, well cared for by friends.  But we lost our home and many of our belongings.  We went back in a boat to rescue our pets.  There were sad moments during those days.  Many times I asked if we would be OK.

Weeks later when the flood waters had receded, 21 people from our church showed up to clean out our house.  Things were sorted.  Things were thrown away.  As I walked around my house to the window by my bedroom, something caught my eye.  It was a stick.  It was my stick.

As a teenager, I attended youth retreats with our church’s youth group. At one of these retreats I had picked up a branch and stripped it of its bark.  I carried it around like a talisman.  The stick came to symbolize finding my way in the world.  But lying on the soggy ground outside among the muddy debris, the stick meant that everything was going to be OK.

On Easter Sunday, the priest’s message was this: Everything is going to be OK.  And even in the tragedies, the times when things do not seem OK, the resurrection assures us that it will be.


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