Mount Saint Helen's Ten Years After
        For fifty miles along a narrow black-top road
        Old growth timber -- hundreds of years old cedar and
        White pine -- alternates with new planted among huge
        Stumps of trees logged off thirty fifty years ago
        Then, hundreds of acres of trees snapped
        Off at the middle and tossed jackstraws between
        Still standing trees with huge bare patches
        Bones exposed by the blast
        Young alder and pine struggle through ash
        Eight and a half miles from the side of the
        Mountain that blew out at 8:32 May 18  1980
        A sign says The blast reached this site in
        Less than three seconds 350 miles per hour
             400 degrees F 
        Here trees lie for miles -- thousands of them
        All snapped off at the base
        All lined up neatly pointing uphill
        All bare branchless and stripped of bark
        The blast hit so hard and so hot    needles
        Branches leaves bark insects snakes chipmunks
        Redwing blackbird crow and raven deer
        Were incinerated even as the air's oxygen
        Exploded so that fire could not follow
        Spirit Lake was blasted eight hundred feet up the
        Hill side to wash hot dead bodies of trees
        Down deeply mudded slopes where five seconds
        Before had been voluptuous forest   Harry Truman   his
        Harmony Lodge and where ten years later their still
        Colorless mass paves the south third of the lake
             Greywhite and blue            greywhite and blue
                  Logs         water                  hillsides     sky
        There was no place to sit down as
        The cold wind in the pale morning light
        Sucked the wind out of me              
                 Heywood Williams

.........................June 27, 1990


E-mail me