Friday, February 25, 2011

Requiem for Christchurch

Earthquakes destroy the past.

I never thought I would live
long enough to witness
the end of my city
but Tuesday lunch time, a cold grey day,
the earth, like a hunting cat, pounced.
We tossed and tumbled,
with our houses see-sawing under us.

Initally, our city was built
on a swamp; when the earth
split open, water and silt
bubbled out through the cracks,
pot-holing pavements and roads.

The cathedral, where we prayed
to God, that same cathedral
collapsed one wall and its spire
on to unwitting passers-by.

Yet it is quite surreal;
my garden is still a wonderland,
even though half a block away,
everything is in disarray.

I mourn for the lost, the maimed, the dead.
I mourn for our grieving city.


  1. Well said, Diana. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you in that lovely city. It is so hard to think of all that has been lost but, hopefully, with the determination and hope of its people it will endure and even thrive again. We all wish you well.

  2. Bloody cats. Yep, me to, I mourn. I rejoice too with what we have, the trees are standing and people rallying. I'm hoping it will still be possible to have an evening of music, song and companionship at your place soon?

  3. Dear Diana, What a sad week for the people of Christchurch and for those of us who live far away, but were born and grew up there. We share your thoughts, expressed so eloquently. I heard today from a ChCh friend that the old Girls High School, where you and I met and spent many years together as close friends, like so many older buildings, was being demolished. A changed city indeed...
    Love, Diony

  4. Thanks for putting so much of what is happening into words that ring true and echo with the grief around and in us.

    Then there is the interesting learning curve of doing with small amounts of water--today I washed my face in the water that had been heating my yogurt maker, then put that bowlful beside the sink for washing hands/dishes later.

    I dug my toilet pit, hoping Murphy's Law would kick in and my water would go on as soon as I'd finished. Unfortunately not...

  5. Diana, your eloquent poem was sent to me via Annell in Taos USA. I live in Queensland Aussie, but have spent some time in your (what was and I trust will be again) beautiful city.
    For days I wathched horrified as people toiled to free the trapped and gradually hope for so many died.
    My eyes were not dry then and are not dry now.
    I and millions like me here are grieving with you Diane. It is an unequalled tragedy for the people of your lovely city and country.