For the Bahamas, the sea has afforded every beauty and bounty, to every life that has ever existed on its shores. The sea is the first and greatest love this land has ever known. From inhabitants of ancient Lucayos, to modern day Bahamians, the sea has provided food, economy and an incomparable loveliness.

Future generations, however, with the threat of climate change, may come to see this sea differently from past generations of Bahamians. As the seas so cherished, surge more upon this land, the challenge will be to find a new way forward, for man to coexist with the rising water.

What follows is an ode to the Bahamas in the afterward of Hurricane Dorian which struck the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama on September 1, 2019.

© bahamianology.com

When the seas so cherished came upon this land

Imperilling the souls of our Bahamaland

Those in harm’s way fearing for heart and hearth

Awaited nature’s fiercest most unpredictable wrath.

Cutting winds raged, swollen seas leviathan tall

Lashing stone and steel and man and all

Time slowed to an infinitesimal pace

As Bahamaland prayed once more for God’s grace.

Thousands huddled wearily in cold waters rising higher

As a savage storm suddenly seized with fire

None of it, not one moment of it, seemed right or just

Brick and stone and strong life crumbling back to dust.

The flood climbed mixing with tears of despair

Families fled into a night made darkest by fear

No moon or stars to light their watery path

Countless fell as they fought, some fought to the very last.

Mothers held onto sons

Fathers clutched the fearful hands of daughters

Wives cleaved unto the strength of husbands

Swimming for life in pitch thick waters.

A blind father carried his disabled son on shivering shoulders

Another broken as his boy slipped from a roof into murky waters

Many ran for stronger shelter during the false calm of the eye

Many stayed where they were, ill-fated to die.

Fearful voices pleaded “Go to better shelter!”

But Dorian wasn’t our first hurricane remember?

So accustomed all were to this season’s ancient breeze

So accustomed we forgot storms will do as they please.

Dorian moved into Abaco visiting Marsh Harbour without invitation

Raged over “Mud and Peas” destroying meagre homes of the Haitians

And then as if the storm’s wreaking couldn’t get any harsher

Dorian emptied oil silos across green fields in Grand Bahama.

This Dorian paid no heed to skin or clan

This Dorian paid no heed to anyone’s forward plan

This storm pushed these Islands to existence’s brink

Rich and poor alike scavenged for clean water to drink.

Amidst the worst moments came some of our finest hours

As strangers became neighbours of our storm weary travellers

In searching vessels ordinary men answered desperate pleas

Rescuing souls lost on this land all but engulfed by the sea.

Ordinary people and stars gave to the melody of millions

Nations sent doctors and helicopters, peacekeepers and civilians

But in shelters as beleaguered survivors into video phones spoke

Our country long slumbering in a dream suddenly awoke.

A plethora of testimonies from traumatised survivors

Revealed the toll of our most critical climate change disaster

Ships thrown on land, life’s work crushed by wind and sea

Reduced to flotsam and jetsam adjuster’s dictum decreed.

Vitriol like barbed wire wound tight, asphyxiating the nation

Conspiracies bloomed in a air starved for believable information

Politicians and people’s eyes argued over numbers lost

Banks and international agencies extrapolated economic costs.

Historic and Catastrophic’ reporters globally chanted

Activists, talk show hosts, fingers on social media ranted

Families of the unaccounted could only weep

As bottom feeders and money lenders prepared for profits they will reap.

Bowed but unbroken’ came the cry

As days and weeks and months went by

‘For things lost’ the mantra heralded ‘eventually can be rebuilt’

Except for lives shattered to points eons beyond hilt.

What could have been done? What should have been done?

Are now questions for the ages

This story of the Dorian Tragedy soon consigned to history’s pages

To future Bahamians, watching our land evolving and changing,

From we who are soon to be your past, learn, so that this may somehow be, tragedy’s last.

———————

WHEN THE SEAS SO CHERISHED CAME UPON THIS LAND

© bahamianology.com

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