Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Being a contemporary Oklahoman, I have never before experienced a tornado of any mass. But I was witness to the destruction met by the Tornado of May 20th, two days ago. In actuality I was not in the midst of the tornado, but I did see videos and the mounting death toll.
I had never fully comprehended or delved into the exact destructive quality of this harbinger of destruction. how it can literally send wheat through trees with its incredible winds, how it can carry entire houses untouched for hundreds of miles, and how it can snuff out the life of a budding soul without mercy.
I ask ask you to read the following poem and short story and think on the incredible power of this whirling dervish of death. Thank you.


Born from clouds of a sickly colour,
Like a ravenous snake falls to the earthen floor.
Living from wind, and feasting on land,
It ravages the hills, both earth and sand.

Cold and warm, wind and rain,
This bestial force truly is earth’s bane.

Falling to earth and tearing o’er the world,
Tis a fearsome sight, as it twisted and swirled.
Stopped by nothing, devouring all,
Catching up beast and man, to death it shall call.

Cold and warm, wind and rain,
This bestial force truly is earth’s bane.

Ever spinning like a death-born top,
It thunders across all, nothing to it stop.
Until time takes it toll, and the tapering beast,
Is lost to memory, no longer to feast.

Cold and warm, wind and rain,
This bestial force truly is earth’s bane.

But left behind is a barren remain,
From destruction nothing did the wind abstain.
Lives being lost, and tears having shed,
And to destruction untold this calamity led.

Cold and warm, wind and rain,
This bestial force truly is earth’s bane.


Dark clouds covered the sky, their foreboding shadow mimicked by their rumbling thunder and the flashing lightning. Hail and rain crashed down into the soft earth, pounding the ground remorselessly until pits and fissures of frothing rainwater pocketed the plain. A sudden jagged cord of lightning forked out of the black clouds, momentarily lighting up the dark shade like day, then sailing down and ensnaring a lone tree in fiery electricity. It snapped and fell, charred, to the sopping earth.
            The sound of the felled behemoth was lost to the storm’s fury, iridescent flashes of lightning lighting up the skies periodically as they leapt through the skies, followed moments later by the booming drum of thunder.
            Above in the clouds, the black blanket of rain wasn’t enough to hide the strange phenomenon forming in the heavens. Unnaturally colored clouds, swirled and undulated in a circular mass of writhing green and gray clouds. It quickly twisted into a tapering cone that sunk to the slaked earth. And as it touched down, a roar of rolling sound drowned out the drumming of hail and the constant noise of thunder as the thing began tearing across the earth, throwing up clouds of grass and sod as it ate through the ground across the valley.
            Trees that had survived lightning strikes were torn from their powerful rooting and flung into the maelstrom of whirling air currents as the writhing powerhouse of destruction came on, paving a path of ravaged soil that was quickly washed into a river of mud by the following storm.
            The polymath of disaster soon had its fill of the valley and tumbled up a hill, bending its monstrous body in an abstract form as it breasted the hill and tore through a rocky outcropping, throwing boulders the size of cars into its swirling maw.
            An unlucky dwelling stood in the path of the howling storm of death, just below the valley hill; and the tornado fell upon it like a living beast, ripping into it with an explosion of splinters, stone and dried mud fragments. The houses solid foundation was physically uprooted and the entire dwelling was lifted into the spinning wind, and was tossed in erratic circles, half its walls torn away.
            Farther on the whirling hammer of nature went, battering through copses, dipping and uprooting animal burrows as it carved a road through everything it came upon, quickly meeting and dealing out destruction to everything it  touched.
            Soon not just a house was found occupying the wind-born hound’s belly, but now whole herds of animals, sheep, cows and pigs were left spinning out of control in the harbinger of doom. Trees soon resided in its swirling body, along with leaves, soil, hail, and countless other objects, which soon turned the sickly, roaring creature a rainbow of a hundred colors, only adding to its foreboding air as it flung itself upon the land; extending rampant winds in its wake as it flew across the ground, ever onward toward its next victim, destroying everything in its reach until it itself was snuffed from existence.

-Z Baner

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