Before the Storm

Before the Storm

A Poem by Catherine Donavon

the ugly yellow-green
of a week-old bruise
overtook the sky like plague
swelling and cramping the atmosphere
with the restless, bloated insistence
of a fever-racked tongue.
Silence rang in my ears
as feathered gossip-mongers defected
to some secret storm haven
taking their chatter with them.
Anticipation hung from abandoned branches
quiet as a root cellar,
nearly as damp and dark.
Mama stepped onto the porch
wiping her long, nervous hands
on her blue, everyday apron
and scanning the glowering sky,
her eyebrows all squinched together
deepening the two worry lines
between them.  
I longed to touch them; 
soothe them away
with soft, cool fingers. 
I felt my own brow
and wondered if I'd have 
little furrows there
when I was as old as Mama.
"Better get inside now, Missy,
and bring Clarissa Jane, too.
Weather's fixin' to do something."
Mama's voice sounded far off,
echo-y in the stagnant air.
I moved dreamily, smoothly,
as if immersed in water
or the slick, silver density
of a huge ball of mercury.
I clutched at Clarissa Jane's
fat, pink plastic arm 
and dragged her unprotesting 
through the tall, snarled grass
toward home;
toward safety before the storm

© 2019 Catherine Donavon

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Enjoyed this poem muchly . . . great narrative full of images and strong approaching feeling. It is like a symbol for all our approaching storms . . . however innocent we might be. Wonderful write.

Posted 11 Months Ago

I've seen THAT sky... survived moments of my own.

You gave a good "Grapes of Wrath" depiction here... Dust Bowl Imagery in front and behind my eyes. A strong write.

Posted 11 Months Ago

You give us precious prose, Catherine. Such a talent for bringing a touching moment from one's own childhood into the Golden Years must be one of life's greatest gifts. Your imagery is delightful in itself to paint your shining narrative so precise. It is amazing when I dwell on such little slices of childhood how the details come flooding back. Others don't always accept that we poets can relive the faces, colors, aromas, even a parent's loving words of a moment, so many hears hence. You can't make that stuff up. All that emotion, our very fears and motivations, light up the mind when we close our eyes in silence. You are truly blest because you can take us back there with you. I will follow you for a time. Thanks for the treat. -- Doug

Posted 12 Months Ago

Catherine Donavon

12 Months Ago

Thanks for the kind words, Doug.
I enjoyed your poem."her eyebrows all squinched together deepening the two worry lines between them." " I felt my own brow and wondered if I'd have little furrows there when I was as old as Mama." I loved these two lines. It greatly describes the simple nature of children, as well as, the complex nature of adults. All in all, it was a nice simple poem.

Posted 12 Months Ago

for kids, dolls are very real...but they don't realize that the doll probably would rather not be dragged through the grass...
I like the story poem here. Excellent personification used as well.
I really like your writing, Catherine. Glad i found your page.

Posted 1 Year Ago

You have a wonderful way of pulling your reader in. I remember as a child, feeling overtly safe whenever I was home during a storm. It was the calm of my grandmother's voice that assured me, that this too would pass. Your personal touches were most indelible - your mother stepping onto the porch, "wiping her hands on the blue everyday apron". For the longest time, I always thought my grandmother had one for every house dress she wore, that they were somehow attached to her hip. What memories you've stirred in this nostalgic vignette of life.

Posted 1 Year Ago

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6 Reviews
Added on July 12, 2019
Last Updated on July 12, 2019


Catherine Donavon
Catherine Donavon

Santa Fe, NM

I am a 71 year old woman currently living in Santa Fe, NM, but in the process of selling my home and hitting the road to live as a nomad. I am a singer/songwriter, actor, director, painter and writer... more..