Lightning brights the figurines

on the terrace,

startles them to an agitation of motion.

A stone head grimaces,

transforms itself, becomes twisted, abstract;


A Chinese mandarin

raises one quaking arm

in poignant surprise,

retreats into the corner, covers his eyes

as if that will ward off the danger.


Like lonely despairing spirits

they peer in at us

as though they are imploring our assistance,

yet hesitant,

as if the glass were an impenetrable wall.


Don’t they know?

They could smash their way through,

from that beleaguered world to ours.

But we stand back, waiting, cowering,

feeling just as vulnerable.


We too can be overwhelmed by lightning,

by this storm which, it seems,

will wreak havoc on our lives.

We do nothing. We watch, as like a harsh master,

it whips the statuettes on the terrace.