Dinosaur Clouds (My Fear of Earthquakes)

This is a poem I wrote last year.  I realise now that it has less to do with the 2011 Rugby World Cup (here in NZ), and more to do with living with the threat of an Earthquake.  We had a fairly strong one recently!

Dinosaur clouds, slow heavy ships sailing the day’s burnt orange lake

Pterodactyls like gossamer, veiling the night, urging white in the wake

Anxious not to land upon the monsters minds make.


The black underbellies of these suspended reptiles reflect the flare

The floodlight of a menacing stadium’s slow erupting glare.

A warning to this funeral pyre free-falling into some nightmare.


Desperate, dispersed wildebeest, crushing blind unheard into hilly black sky.

Listening to the bubbling stadium’s volcanic victory cry,

Eyes wide,  I’m sleepless and silent as the black clouds hasten by.

(photo: AFL/ Fairfax NZ News)

21 thoughts on “Dinosaur Clouds (My Fear of Earthquakes)

  1. hobgoblin2011 says:

    love the choices you used for metaphor/description here. Going all the way back to prehistoric earth and then using wild beasts, awesome choices. Thanks, I’ve been through a medium to smaller one and it was scary, and I slept through another which was really small, didn’t even know it happened until people were talking about it.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment! I usually wake up if they happen at night – I can almost sense the pressure build-up beforehand which is weird! Wellington is pretty windy so many of the little ones go unnoticed.

    • haha – yup – I’ve had a few big old psychs all right!
      Things that go rattle and bump in the night
      It wasn’t so groovy
      When I felt the earth move me
      And my amorous hubby was nowhere in sight!

  2. A very cool poem – very impressionistic. I understand, living in NYC, that kind of fear beneath and overlay of activity and even triumph on the human scale – so much cheering, underneath these almost prehistoric forces moving. (Prehistoric in the case of earthquake – for us, it’s stuff like terrorism.) Well done. k.

    • those prehistoric forces would be awesome if I wasn’t sitting on them – I understand that fear- I guess it’s similar – that sense of not knowing – not sure what it’s like to live with the terrible aftermath as NYC has had to – can only imagine how important community suddenly becomes.
      thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment!

  3. I had never realized NZ was a country so full of volcanoes or had earthquakes until I saw the Christchurch one happen. This must always be something that you can never quite push to the back of your mind and totally forget about. Very vivid imagery in all of your piece but, it’s still very gentle considering the inspiration. 🙂

  4. The threats of earthquakes can be very unsettling. Had driven in South Island many years ago. Passed through Christchurch, Mount Cook and ended at Queenstown. Had a Shotover jet ride before flying over to Auckland. Very peaceful,serene and scenic.I thought the threat of Earthquake should be more in the North Island with the many hot springs and sulphur pools. Thanks for dropping by!


    • Hi Kaykuala 🙂 I think most Cantabrians felt the same way… the Christchurch earthquake caught many by surprise and reminded all of us how volatile this country is. My heart goes out to Iranians who are experiencing this horror now.

  5. Madelaine says:

    Beautiful words for a less than beautiful earth change. Thanks for visiting my blog and for the kind words. They aren’t mine though….they’re BB’s beauties! 🙂

  6. You have captured a mood of menace so beautifully in the imagery. I can only imagine what it must feel like to live with the threat of earthquake. I’ve experienced a few tremors (in Africa) but never anything as violent as what New Zealanders have.

    • Thanks bb, anyone wandering around Wellington today would be forgiven for forgetting what’s going on under that surface! There have been a few volcanic eruptions this week around NZ which seems ominous! I didn’t know Africa experienced tremors from time to time! Actually, I do remember them happening in the UK too.

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