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  • josephaversano

Dedication to Ground

It's now a week on from the two big quakes that wreaked havoc on SE Turkey and NE Syria and that shifted the Anatolian plate several meters from where it last was. My wife felt the second of the two all the way from here in Ankara. Whenever a major earthquake strikes in this corner of the world, I dust off a poem I wrote just hours after the Bodrum-Kos earthquake in the summer of 2017. My family and I were in Torba (about 5km north of Bodrum Town) and had to sleep two nights out under the stars. My ferry to Kos that very morning was cancelled as the Kos harbor was destroyed and there were tsunami warnings. In any case, the poem still somehow has a healing effect on me. It will not dissuade the earth-shaker Poseidon from shaking the earth again, nor will it dissipate the freezing cold here, nor will it create stricter building codes and policies, and nor will it bring back the lives of all lost, but it does give me a slight shift in perspective that aligns me perhaps more with how things are. Here is the poem as it appeared in issue 22 of John Martone's otata.


ground no longer

steady the clouds

still pass

ground no longer

steady a bee

flies to a flower

ground no longer

steady I

lay a hand upon it

ground no longer

steady I


(otata 22)

If you wish to contribute to relief efforts in the region, one viable option is by donating to the popular and reliable Turkish NGO Ahbap Derneği founded by the philanthropist musician Haluk Levent:

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