Meditation in a Mild Hurricane: As Dolly Approaches Laredo before Sunrise

by R. W. Haynes

Our meteorologists coolly pronounce
This an interaction of heat and cold, wet
And dry, atmospheric pressure that mounts
And subsides toward a median state, yet
These philosophers find themselves compelled
To talk of personal traits in this rotation
Of winds and clouds and moisture all impelled
By laws scientifically clear in explanation.
A poet should agree with the scientists here
For his science and theirs achieves a unity
As more than ever meets the eye can appear
Intuitive to all, as any fool can see.
Aristotle’s pleasure and harmony
Thus plays well with meteorology.

Aristotle argued that pain is agitation
Of the integral soul’s natural harmony
And that pleasure is the restoration
Of that harmonious integrity.
This storm, like some response to urgent prayer
By Shelley, or Elijah, whispers over the plains
Scattering the salvation of moisture there
With the remorseless justice of its rains,
And brings to mind, as it always does for me,
The essence of drama, not imitation,
As our Stagirite argued–complacently,
Perhaps–but the embodiment of creation.
We are the storms, Hedda Gabler and Lear
And Oedipus, blasted ashore right here.

And those cascades of blessed condensation
Bring about a sympathetic synthesis
Between urgencies of our situation
And whatever you wish to designate this
Readiness to listen and to wait for rain
Washing down the dust from the mesquite
And cactus of this hostile Texas plain,
Watering and cooling down this land of heat,
A meditative, patient thoughtfulness
Harmonious with the motions of the storm,
Aware the drama is solutionless
And has for us no Aristotelian form.
This whirling theater of enormous forces
Skirts madly past, scattering our resources.

R. W. Haynes teaches Shakespeare and early British literature in Laredo. His book The Major Plays of Horton Foote is forthcoming this fall from the Mellen Press, and he recently completed a sonnet cycle titled Vision and Code.

Back to Issue Seven: Spring 2010