When the tsunami struck Boxing Day 2004, the world looked on in horror. As far as the eye could see, nothing but devastation.
The tsunami was a natural event, a shifting of tectonic plates, an earthquake deep in the ocean floor. The devastation it wrought was not a natural disaster, it was brought about by the greed of Man. Mangrove swamps had been destroyed, to be replaced by shrimp farms or holiday resorts for the wealthy to cavort. In those places where the mangroves remained, there was little damage.
Tsunami, brought a new word to English speaking lips.
Tsunami was one of the poems that Alwyn Marriage read at the Guildford Institute in Guildford one evening during the Guildford Book Festival.
A new word,
savoured on the tongue
sweeps in, swamping languages
with all the inevitable
bitterness of brine.
At such apocalypse
the earth quakes and
the sea coughs up its dead,
choked on the horror of a force
not seen or understood.
Such indescribable malignity and might
requires a strange new
foreign word to bear
its drowning weight.
Reproduced by kind permission of Alwyn Marriage from her collection Touching Earth.