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ABSECON on the Bass River

After landfall in Atlantic City,

the snow hurricane of 1804,

an extra-tropical upreach

through the clouds

unleashed torrents of what turned

to frozen rain, that went to powder,

and became a violent whiteout.


Frozen crystal drifts called firn

turned into hard pack, firm enough

to walk on – it smothered the countryside

culling deer , timber wolves, cattle, sheep,

steeples and chimneys blown apart

by force of wind, barns leveled,

ships splintered onto the beach.


Stillness haunted the sands and marshes

along what was left of wilderness,

on the narrow barrier island called Absecon,

surrounded by the Bass River.


Years later, two self-described hermits,

Jerremiah Leeds and Johathan Pitney discovered

what beauty the snow’s violence had fashioned.

They sold the solitude, for four cents an acre,

and the landscape was reshaped once again.


This is the same as our story – landscapes deprecated,

rivers sent off course, because with any change

the story of all else changes too,

after which, nothing is the same.


Jean Cassidy

Copyright: May 18, 2018


Absecon – a city in Atlantic CountyNew JerseyUnited States

art and education, ecology, ENVIRONMENT, family history, poetry, wnc poetry, wnc writers, women writers

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