Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did, and meant.

John Donne, “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”

Normally, flat on my back outdoors,
I note the changing shapes of clouds
billowing up over the horizon
as zodiacal forms of life approaching.

But now this deviation:
how can I dispel the tremors
underground and in my flesh?
Good Lord, why must I be touched

again by fire I know will erupt
from fissures grounded in my psyche,
spurting magma through thin-crusted earth?
Must I be prophet for the goddess Pele

with brimstone-laden, dark smoke giving
hell to our so-called island paradise?

Born in Ohio (1933), John N. Miller grew up in Hawai’i (1937-1951). He retired in 1997 from teaching literature and writing at his undergraduate alma mater, Denison University, and now lives with his wife, Ilse in a retirement community in Lexington, VA.