Six months since Sandy

Apr 29, 2013
It’s been six months since Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses, and schools, and leaving a devastating path of destruction in its wake. The damage was severe, but from the tragedy also came inspiring stories of courage and resilience. In the affected areas, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, a group of kid reporters ages 8-12, wrote about the stories coming out of their own neighborhoods, and we were overwhelmed by touching stories of communities coming together to re-build. In an effort to help the schools and libraries in the regions most severely damaged by the storm, Scholastic pledged to donate one million books, and did our best to supply parents and teachers with recovery resources. We all respond to tragedies like Sandy in different ways: some volunteer to deliver supplies to those in need; others pledge their time to disaster-relief organizations or donate money to organizations like the Red Cross. And some respond with art or writing that beautifully encapsulates the experience itself. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running recognition program for creative teens, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers (the nonprofit that administers the Awards) received dozens of submissions that dealt with Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath. One such piece was by Leigh Brooks, a 12-year-old student in 7th grade at Brooklin School in Brooklin, ME, who received a Gold Key for poetry in the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. As National Poetry Month draws to a close, we thought it’d be a perfect time to share Leigh’s poem: Hurricane Sandy Hurricane Sandy A behemoth of a storm Travels her slow path across the Gulf of Mexico Intent on the juicy prize: the New England coast   Cities lie far away in the distance, She tires of water, She hungers for the feast of buildings The crunchy cold concrete, the white-washed walls   She makes her way onto the coast’s edge, Until finally, she can reach her goal: The tantalizing stew of human colonization   Many mouths On long necks Sprout from her mass and down toward the land. Where they sink their teeth deep into the great cities   She lingers for days, Feasting on human suffering She pours their tears back down to them And whips their miserable cries through their darkened streets   She leaves at last Gorged to bursting Full of sadness and greed The only food left for a hungry storm   Emotion is food only for a time Soon it will blow her apart She leaves the ocean completely and travels inland, where humans rule And they pour the last of their misery into her   It is too much, She cannot hold it all, So she crumbles to pieces in the place Where the graves of her brethren lie   She is no more The mighty storm Is yet another flicker In the short memories of humans.     Do you use poetry to cope with tragedy? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below. Image via USACE HQ