Additional writings by K.P. Singh may be found as Reflections of the Sacred in the Arts and Architecture

Original drawings of some of the images shown on this website are available for acquisition. Please contact KP for more information.

2004 Asian Tsunami

The images and unleashed rage of Asian Tsunami
Still send shivers through the spine.
The unimagined devastation tugs our heart,
Loss of life numbs the mind, leaves us speechless.

Many places on the Earth were still in darkness
The world was unaware of the raging onslaught:

The swelled ocean triggered giant tidal waves
Hurtled them across seas and straits, coastlines, settlements
With speed and roar of a jet plane, awesome fury,
Waves knocked everything in their path,
Swallowed up entire islands, fishing villages, shorelines.

Not much survived where the waves struck,
Came ashore, made their violent journey deep inland,
Nor upon the return of monstrous waves back to the sea.
Survivors witnessed in stunned shock, frantic desperation,
In disbelief as they saw the cataclysmic aftermath.

The awesome power of Nature was sight to behold.
Was it the wrath of gods unfolding before our eyes?
The earthquake-triggered Tsunami roared across
From its epicenter in Indonesia past Thailand, India, Sri Lanka,
Westward, to East Africa, an ocean stretch of nearly 5,000 miles.

The houses crumbled, cars, trucks, and large boats
Crushed; trains pushed over; man and material dragged,
Mangled, and scattered across the ravaged landscapes
Scenes of utter devastation hard to imagine possible;

There was rumbling and tumbling, breaking and shaking
Loud screams drowned in deafening noise of powerful Tsunami.
Panic-stricken people swept away helplessly into the deep,
Caught in murky whirlpools of death and destruction;

The force of the invading waves hard to fathom;
Traveling unchecked, marauding coastal towns, fishing villages,
Resorts, as if someone had opened the floodgates of hell,
Let loose the ocean to submerge the earth,
Cause havoc all across the path of merciless Tsunami.

Massive earthquake-Tsunami was Nature displaying
Raw power; unimagined and unseen for generations;
The shattering wake-up call encircled the globe.
Captured in eyewitness and haunting visual images,
Memories, living nightmare that agonize our soul;
Thoughts on future catastrophes before they happen,
Catch us by surprise; devastate our fragile tranquility,
Cause horrendous losses, shattering of lives, heritage,
Natural elements and flourishing human habitat,
Crowd our mind and spirit in repeated aftershocks.

Tsunami laid bare large swaths of land,
Stripped of life, infrastructure, vegetation and soil.
There, now stood heartbreaks, single lonely structures
As the silent reminders of once bustling communities;

Landscape littered with mountain-high debris,
Air filled with sounds of suffering and deep anguish,
Stench of deaths in thousands, agony of despair all around;
Burials and cremations of dead, often by strangers,
Without a final goodbye by those whom they belonged in life;

Unbearable and frantic struggle to save lives; find strength
To carry on after what the victims have been through.

It was not all dark amidst this midnight of sadness.
Noblest human concern, generosity flowed from near and far
To reinforce hope and healing, bring comfort,
Rebuild the shattered world and dreams of survivors.

Unexpected “angels” had descended to lend a hand,
Ease the sorrow and suffering of people, nations
That bore the merciless brunt of the Tsunami.
Millions rushed forward in friendship, solidarity
In prayerful sorrow to share pain in the extended family
In communities, cultures they knew not before the tragedy.

At-work, a powerful spirit, deepest understanding
Across traditional divides and indifferences,
Threading all living beings, for one brief moment,
Into a common humanity, shared cultural tapestry,
Reminding each of our responsibility to other; praying that

The life-sustaining gifts of our shared destiny: hope, promise
Music, song, life, laughter needs to return at ‘daybreak.’

Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA