Poem tells of bad storm

Wes Franklin

Greg Hickman recently sent me an undated newspaper clipping of a poem he found, believed to be from the 1940s, but possibly a little later. 

It is titled “The Recent Quake”. However, Greg and I agree that it isn’t about an actual earthquake that rattled Neosho, but about a bad storm. I believe the word “quake” is figurative. Some of the language in the poem describes a scene we are all too familiar with around here. Read through it and you’ll know. The poem tells the tale. Also, I cannot find any reference in local newspaper archives to an earthquake. Here is the poem: 

“The Recent Quake” 

Like a thief in the night the wild thing came.

We could not see it, no one was to blame. 

Bringing ruin and destruction in its wake, 

The city of Neosho was struck by a quake. 

It came from a direction that was hard to tell;

The water in the streets began to swell.

Down came a tree across the road,

Phone poles and light poles bent with their load. 

A cry was heard here, then over there;

All we could do was to stand and stare. 

Cars went down the street, turned and came back; 

The wind was blowing high, the night was black. 

Crash! A tree fell down across the street,

A car was missed by just a few feet. 

To see what the matter was, the vehicle stopped.

Crash! In front another one dropped. 

All night the men laborer with vim and vare

To restore order here and there. 

Morning came, and with it the dawn;

Telephones were fixed, and the lights were on. 

The rubbish is cleared and the work all done; 

Things are all normal, everything on the run. 

Thanks be to our maker in Heaven above,

We were spared by His power and His endless love. 

- Lena Mae Wyatt