Ekphrastic Blog #12

Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor-in-training at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.

I owe an explanation for this week’s Ekphrastic Poem inspiration. The first reason I chose this week’s inspiration involves my summer Theology class. As a mission statement to make a better world, I decided I would set aside one poem a month to make the few readers of my blog, hear about inspiring actions of good people in the world. I will be dedicating a poem to actual people, instead of just artwork.

This second is because whenever there is some bad, awful, even horrific thing that happens in the world, it always makes me feel helpless. When I hear about the heroic actions that come out to face it, I think about how individuals can change the outcome of it all. This poem may be similar to the poem I created for the fictional underdog, Neville Longbottom, a month ago. Except, for this poem, I want to honor a couple that risked their lives multiple times to save forty children from death at the hands of a madman.

The actions of Anders Behrin Breivik , who killed over seventy people and injured even more, is very well known by people all over the world. This tragedy was reported on the radio; the news; and was publicized for weeks after the event. With all this publicity about the bad and hopeless, I didn’t think there was anything that occurred that day, other than death. I made a shocking discovery earlier this week, that there were actual heroes, which didn’t seem to get any sort of credit. I am talking about two women, names: Hege Dalen and her spouse Toril Hansen. These two women should be an inspiration to the rest of the world. Just like the firefighters that climb the burning steps of a collapsing house, or an officer who takes a bullet to save a child. These people whom sacrifice their safety, their comforts and change the outcome of catastrophe should be recognized. Whatever reasons the press in Norway and the world may have, these women deserve some kudos points. So I wrote them a poem that shows the terror and hope of that day.

Gunshots and Angels 
blood pockets the water
staining the dark blue depths red
as screams echo off rocks
and ricochet off the murky surface
 
puffing out clouds of breath
as they rush to start engines
they hurtle towards danger
 
reaching tiny bodies and
floating faces gasping in
tiny moans their fingers
skim the surface
they slow
 
larger hands grab onto
pieces of clothing
hauling tiny bodies into
their floating safe haven as
bullets rivet the fiberglass
 
returning to the danger four times
forty souls of forty children
gasp in fear as they reattach
their souls with reality
 
as they breathe with the freedom
of the living they gaze at
their saving angels
while the last shot is fired
and the light fades
 
         -By Linda K. Strahl
Editor’s Note: Linda K Strahl is a transfer student from University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, where she was studying Archaeology and minoring in Creative Writing. She came to Lewis University in Fall of 2010 to major in Creative Writing. After participating in the production of two plays at Phillip Lynch Theater she has become an enthusiastic dramaturg, and is contemplating a career as a researcher and playwriter.

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