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The Stand

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  • The Stand

    The rumors came trickling down
    From the tops of the mountains to town
    A river was coming, so we’d better start running,
    To stay in our homes was to drown.

    Entire villages gone
    Hurry now, it won’t be long
    Till it reaches you, too, then what will you do?
    Will you flee in a boat or stand strong?

    We all made a pact that day
    We decided to not run away
    We’d stand and we’d fight, all day and night,
    Against the river rushing our way.

    For these were our schools and our homes,
    Our playgrounds, our fields, and our roads,
    Worth fighting for, perhaps dying for,
    Besides, where else could we go?

    I was so scared I would drown
    Scared to stay and defend the town
    But you held my hand, and asked me to stand,
    To fight, to be brave and proud.

    You said you, too, were afraid
    But that it would all be okay
    If we held on to each other, brother to brother,
    The river couldn’t wash us away.

    I knew when I looked in your eyes
    You never would tell me a lie
    If you said we would make it, let the river come take it!
    We were ready to fight, live or die!

    That night a trickle came through
    The center of town, and we knew
    It wouldn’t be long till we’d hear the wild song
    Of waters, frothy and blue.

    Here it comes! Here it comes! Here it comes now!
    Drinking up all of our town!
    Steady, my friends, prepare to defend,
    Stand as one man, as we vowed.

    You held me right close to you,
    Just as you promised to do,
    We braced for the crash, the battle, the clash
    Our nightmare had finally come true.

    I was the first one to see
    The river, wild and churning
    Tearing down trees as it raced straight for me
    I never intended to flee.

    But the river opened its maw
    Houses and trees in its jaw
    Molars for gnashing, talons for slashing,
    It ripped through our walls like straw.

    Then I knew that to stay was to die
    So I broke with a cowardly cry
    I turned and I fled, my heart filled with dread,
    And raced for the hills, safe and dry.

    I cried when you called out my name
    Couldn’t bear to look at your face
    My fear overcame, though I was ashamed,
    And the river swept you away.

    I heard you call out for me,
    As you were pulled into the sea,
    Your brother, your friend, almost to the end
    But your hero, I never could be.

    All of this happened so long ago,
    And over the years I’ve grown
    Sadder and cold, wiser but old,
    Quietly and alone.

    Our town slumbers so peacefully
    Fish swim where you used to be
    And the river still flows, for the river, she knows
    How to punish great cowards like me.

    My hill, my prison, my island
    Is all that is left to me now and
    I sit here alone, where once was my home,
    And each night I dream of the Stand.

    I alone broke the chain
    The day the flood waters came
    If I had not run, would we have won?
    Was it I who swept you away?

    Oh friend! Dear friend! How I miss you, my friend!
    I ache to do it all over again!
    I’d stand and be brave, we’d fight the dark waves,
    Arms linked in arms till the end.

  • #2
    WOW! Powerful write that deserves acclaim from our poet friends. Please elaborate on the inspiration for your write. Top of the queue!


    • Kate_Landers
      Kate_Landers commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you so much, Boe! I wrote the first version of this poem after I had lost a close friend, mainly due to my carelessness with our relationship. I rewrote much of the poem for this contest, though I kept the overall feeling the same.
      Last edited by Kate_Landers; 04-12-2016, 08:04 PM.

  • #3
    Wow Kate! Very imaginative way to tell your story. You've painted the picture with your penbrush.


    • #4
      Wow, that brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful, powerful poem. Thank you so much for sharing.


      • #5
        Yes it did; 'brought tears to my eyes.' Wow! Riveting! Poignant! And tragically human! Is what comes to mind after reading your poem. The imagery was so strong I heard the the rushing waters, I stood there also and watched as the water came smashing trees and huts. Truth be told, I would of ran also. I'm no superhero. But the memory would of hunted me. Much like this poem. Just like Katrina.


        • Kate_Landers
          Kate_Landers commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you so much. I really appreciate your kind words!

      • #6
        Hi Kate,
        I'm so pleased that your poem has been commented on as I was just having a lazy read and wouldnt havd spotted it if it hadnt been at the top of the list. It's a very powerful and emotively told story and catches the reader up in the moment. I love the couple of verses beginning 'The river opened its maw' (I had to look up the word 'maw' as I'd never heard it before, but I think it brings perfect imagery to the start of the next couple of verses)
        The rhyme scheme you have used is a difficult one to hold to for an emotional story retelling like this, but you clearly have the skill, so I am curious to know whether you broke it occasionally to make specific lines stand out or if I'm reading too much into that? I tend to instinctively and habitually stick to a pattern throughout and I'm trying to learn when it's appropriate not to, so it occurred to me that you may have changed the pattern to highlight the line 'couldnt bear to look at his face', which is the effect that it had on me as I tried to get past my obsessive need for a strict pattern!
        Great read, thanks for sharing 😀


        • Kate_Landers
          Kate_Landers commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you. I'm glad you liked it! As for the rhyme scheme - I'm not a good enough poet to be able to stick to a strict rhyme and still make the poem enjoyable and natural-sounding, so I break the scheme whenever I need to.

      • #7
        Great lesson for me there Kate: don't over-analyse and just enjoy! Haha. Meanwhile, maybe the accidental effectiveness of the rhyme scheme change is a benefit I should take note of and be prepared to experiment a little myself too 😀


        • #8
          agree with the comments above. glad i found this one.