Monday, 14 March 2011

Natural Disaster

An elegy for all victims of the Japanese earthquake

Words aren’t enough, the common tongue
judged useless to expunge our deepest grief.
Yet what else have we?
Music perhaps, gestures, grunts, touches
of cold comfort?
Rage exhausts itself, searching vainly
for some culprit.

We return to words and find them wanting.
Trusting others to know enough
to know just how we feel.
Continuing to mouth our vain attempts
to tame the savagery of loss.

Words aren’t enough we know.
We know, we know not what to say.
Yet speak and keep on speaking.
In the end; it’s all we know.

© James Rainsford 2011

Note to readers:
I thought long and hard about whether I should post this so soon after the tragic events which are still unfolding in Japan. I decided to share it, as it attempts to express the hopelessness so of us many feel in the face of such tragedy, where we are forced to acknowledge our shared humanity and common vulnerability in the face of nature's most destructive forces.
My thoughts are with all those suffering due to this dreadful event. James.


  1. right on time, awesome highlight,
    Glad to see you share some sympathy with the victims. rock.

  2. In my humble opinion you did very much the right things to post this now. It reflects so very well what many of us are feeling. On the one hand it feels voyeuristic to watch the suffering but then it also seems wrong not to watch and listen. I seems that all we can do is acknowledge that fellow humans are suffering horribly and that we are mainly helpless and all we can do is sympathise. Diane.

  3. Love that you posted that and thank you for your comment on my blog, James. It's not me that's coordinating the book send it to Frankie and Sessha at


  4. words that needed to be written and penned so well.

  5. some times the utterances we can muster are is tragic and heartbreaking and i am glad you acknowledge it...

  6. Well written! I thoroughly enjoyed this.

  7. Enjoyed the poetry, but the disaster is another matter, of course.

  8. It is hard to find words, but that picture says it all. I don't think it's too soon. It shows you care.

  9. This is a worthy thing to do, and a terrific heartfelt piece. xxxj

  10. "We return to words and find them wanting."

    Yes. I'm so overwhelmed with it all I can't hardly begin to process. Even trying to keep up with the news of it is impossible AND upsetting.

  11. Dear James

    We know, we know not what to say.. liked it so much.. thanks for sharing.

    ॐ शांति ॐ
    Om Shanti Om
    May peace be... pray for People of Japan
    Connect me at Twitter @VerseEveryDay

  12. yes - words are never enough - and yet - they tell the japanese, our heart is with them

  13. just thought i'd say hello - loved your photos today over at one stop james

  14. A very worthy elegy. The last stanza is superb.

  15. (and I'm now following you James)


If you wish your views and opinions to be published here, please be polite and respectful. I welcome feedback on my work and will try to respond if you take the trouble to post a comment. Thanks for visiting 'The Sanctum of Sanity.' Hope you enjoyed the experience, James.