This was a poem I wrote in July of 1986, when I was on a poetry kick. My inspiration was – would you believe? – lightning in the night sky. My father induced respect and admiration for lightning in me when I was little. Like most small children, I was terrified of lightning and thunder. But my father picked me up one night and carried me to a window. He pulled open the drapes and yanked up the blinds – and told me not to be scared. Lightning and thunder were just part of nature and nothing to be feared. Respected, yes, but not feared. They were born from the hands of the Great Creator. From then on, I was never afraid of lightning or thunder again.
My father had acquired veneration for all of Earth’s natural forces from his own father who would open the drapes as a lightning storm rampaged overheard. By contrast my grandmother was terrified and ran around the house clutching a rosary, lighting candles and ordering everyone to pray; that this is how the world will end: lightning, thunder, wind, rain – all at once and merciless. Of course, that may be true. But who are we to tell the Earth what to do with its tools?
My grandfather apparently displayed a sadistic streak, as his frazzled wife scampered from room to room. “Yes,” he’d tell her. “I just heard a report on the radio that a tornado is headed this way and sweeping up all women over age 40.”
Oh lightning angel.
Please smile at me.
Crackle in the caverns of that purple-black sky.
Glisten your rods of orange fire,
Whisper to me amidst vicious winds.
Please smile once more at me.
I hear your softened sensations,
And cower against your powerful heart.
Sweep my soul and steel my lungs.
Favorite of all our elements.
Looking at you from this shrinking Earth.
To your crystalline patterns.
Designs of your own creation.
Yes, lightning angel.
Gentle and sweet.
Yet you display your might.
Flashing over the silhouettes of quiet plants.
Cover my meager form on this deserted road.
Breathe your whiteness through the swollen clouds.
I reach out to you.
And wish you could take me,
Retreating back into this clouds.
But you’re alone,
In your own dimension,
In your own universe.
So I beg you please,
Just bless me with one last flare,
Before you melt,
Into that sky,
Oh lightning angel.
Image: Colt Forney Photography