Caroline Brustowicz. Storm. Grade 12, Age 18. 2011 Silver Key, Painting.

Caroline Brustowicz. Storm. Grade 12, Age 18. 2011 Silver Key, Painting.

Excerpted from Scholastic’s On Our Minds blog. Click here for the full post by Lia Zneimer.

It’s been six months since Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses, and schools, and leaving a devastating path of destruction in its wake. The damage was severe, but from the tragedy also came inspiring stories of courage and resilience. We all respond to tragedies like Sandy in different ways: some volunteer to deliver supplies to those in need; others pledge their time to disaster-relief organizations or donate money to organizations like the Red Cross. And some respond with art or writing that beautifully encapsulates the experience itself.

This year, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, received dozens of submissions that dealt with Sandy and its aftermath. One such piece was by 12-year-old Leigh Brooks from Brooklin, ME, who received a Gold Key for Poetry. As National Poetry Month draws to a close, we thought it’d be a perfect time to share Leigh’s poem:

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy
A behemoth of a storm
Travels her slow path across the Gulf of Mexico
Intent on the juicy prize: the New England coast

Cities lie far away in the distance,
She tires of water,
She hungers for the feast of buildings
The crunchy cold concrete, the white-washed walls

She makes her way
onto the coast’s edge,
Until finally, she can reach her goal:
The tantalizing stew of human colonization

Many mouths
On long necks
Sprout from her mass and down toward the land.
Where they sink their teeth deep into the great cities

She lingers for days,
Feasting on human suffering
She pours their tears back down to them
And whips their miserable cries through their darkened streets

She leaves at last
Gorged to bursting
Full of sadness and greed
The only food left for a hungry storm

Emotion is food only for a time
Soon it will blow her apart
She leaves the ocean completely and travels inland, where humans rule
And they pour the last of their misery into her

It is too much,
She cannot hold it all,
So she crumbles to pieces in the place
Where the graves of her brethren lie

She is no more
The mighty storm
Is yet another flicker
In the short memories of humans.

Do you use poetry to cope with tragedy? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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