Natasha Trethewey


Providence - Poem by Natasha Trethewey

What's left is footage:
the hours before Camille,
1969—hurricane parties,
palm trees leaning in the wind,
fronds blown back, a woman's hair.
Then after: the vacant lots,
boats washed ashore,
a swamp where graves had been.
I recall how we huddled
all night in our small house,
moving between rooms,
emptying pots filled with rain.
The next day, our house
on its cinderblocks—seemed
to float in the flooded yard:
no foundation beneath us,
nothing I could see tying
us to the land. In the water,
our reflection trembled,
disappeared when I bent
to touch it.


Comments about Providence by Natasha Trethewey

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (3/3/2016 3:07:00 PM)

    Nothing rings truer than personal memories in the hands of a master poet. Exceedingly well written (Report) Reply

    6 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • T Rajan Evol (3/3/2016 2:27:00 PM)

    Ya good one and nothing more. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh Rahalkab (3/3/2016 11:46:00 AM)

    This is very well done. I've never had to live through a hurricane, and hope I never have to. This is the part that touches me the most:
    Then after: the vacant lots,
    boats washed ashore,
    a swamp where graves had been. (Report) Reply

  • Barry Middleton Barry Middleton (3/3/2016 7:44:00 AM)

    Being from Mississippi and 23 years old in 1969, I remember Hurricane Camile very well. I love the concluding lines -
    In the water,
    our reflection trembled,
    disappeared when I bent
    to touch it.
    I think this captures the unreality of the trauma after a devastating storm such as it was. Someday when I have the time I want to read much more of Trethewey's poetry. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (3/3/2016 2:55:00 AM)

    Pots filled with rain! With the ways of nature. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Dr.tony Brahmin Dr.tony Brahmin (3/3/2016 1:09:00 AM)

    I recall how we huddled
    all night in our small house,
    moving between rooms,
    emptying pots filled with rain. next day, flood, images in water...... you began with wonderful expressions of love in your small house and then......... joy and sadness. love and at the end a sense of loss. thank you. tony (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Poem Edited: Tuesday, March 25, 2014


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