What a night (Day 53/54)

Camping in a basin near Lake Coleridge and surrounded by mountains, we are treated to ferocious weather throughout the night.

What a night

Lying in a tent
I listen
To the sharp sound
Of raindrops
Changing to sheets
Of water
Bucketing down

I touch
The fabric above
And around me:
Seems to be
Holding out

An occasional flash
And rumble
Becomes a five-hour
Light and sound

Thunder with
Multiple sound effects
In all directions
Going two ways
At once
Rumbling one way
Echoing off mountain tops
Rolling back
The other way
Through valleys
Around and back again
The ground shuddering
At times

The sleeping bag
Covering closed eyes
Offers no protection

And acutely aware
Of our fragility
Amongst the immense
Being unleashed
Around us tiny figures
In our little tents

I count the seconds
Between light
And sound
It comes closer and closer
Over the hours
Stopping at 4 kilometers

Cows lowing
On the hillsides
Movements and sounds
Next door
A creaking sleeping mat
The swish of a zip
Opening and closing
The only evidence
Of wakefulness
In this wild night

Finally the thunderstorm spent
I doze off
Only to be woken again
With a start
By loud crackling
Flapping  and shaking
Of my tent
In a gale force storm
Tent poles moving as much
As the guy ropes
Will give

No more rain
But will the ground
Hold on to my little pegs?
Eventually the need to
Check and adjust
The guy ropes
Becomes greater than
My anxiety
To brave the elements

When the storm abates
At last
There’s message
In the colour of the sky:
It’s time
To get up

2 thoughts on “What a night (Day 53/54)

  1. Melissa Evans

    Hi Marlies,
    I love this poem, as your words take me with you and I am experiencing what you have felt. The ending is great as it reminds you that after every storm, calmness and ordinary routines happen again.
    Huge congratulations to you on making it to Bluff.


    1. Hi Melissa, lovely to hear from you again. Yeah, lots of opportunity to realise the ordinary after unique experiences of all kinds! 🙂 We did get to Bluff AND did not walk everything due to time constraints in the end. Still it certainly was fun to feel what we did achieve standing by that signpost. I’ll continue to upload my poems as I catch up with myself over the next while. We’re on a slow and scenic journey back to Akl. Busses and scenic express trains. Fun!


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