The city of ruins will rise again

It’s hard to think of anything other than the Christchurch earthquake. I have friends with family in the area so there’s been a fraught time of waiting to hear – most are now accounted for, and that’s a relief. Other friends have emailed me to pass on good news (Margaret Mahy’s fine, which I hadn’t even thought to worry about; Maurice Lyon’s friends are also OK and that’s also great to know.) But there’s still one Tuesday Poem poet unaccounted for: all we can hope is that he’s fine and just hasn’t got power for the internet or a cell phone connection Fingers crossed for you, Andrew.

Unless you’re on the spot it’s difficult to imagine just how hard it is for everyone without power or money (no ATMs) or sewage supplies, and having to dig out the liquefaction thrown up by the shallowness of the quake, and children and pets crazed with fear, and the continuing aftershocks.

One Tuesday Poem poet posted Bruce Springsteen’s song lyrics for ‘My City of Ruins’, which is an anthem of encouragement with a chorus of hope that I’ve been singing since I read the post: look for it here.

There is a blood red circle

On the cold dark ground

And the rain is falling down

The church door’s thrown open

I can hear the organ’s song

But the congregation’s gone

My city of ruins

My city of ruins

Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!

Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!

Come on, rise up! Come on, rise up!


And everyone I know sends love and thoughts of courage. Kia kaha, people of Christchurch.

7 Responses to “The city of ruins will rise again”

  1. mary Says:

    We’ve just heard that Andrew is fine, Belinda (phew). Good to see that Margaret Mahy is too. Like you, I find it’s hard to think of much else beyond Christchurch and its people at the moment. The Springsteen song is great isn’t it? Reckon I’ll get that CD out and sing-along with you …

  2. admin Says:

    And it’s all so personal, isn’t it? I think in crises that’s what happens; you are reduced to the personal, to worrying about people you know or whom other people know, and to being moved to tears by photos of distressed and traumatised survivors because they, too, become personal to us in a heartbeat. And talking of personal – I am SO glad that Andrew is fine. That’s all the Tuesday Poets community accounted for, I think? I’ll sleep better knowing that.

  3. Olduvai Gorge Thorn Tree « Homepaddock Says:

    [...] Belinda Hollyer writes the city of ruins will rise again. [...]

  4. sam hester Says:

    hi there,

    Just had to say thanks for posting that Margaret Mahy is all right! I found your blog by googling, “is Margaret Mahy ok earthquake 2011?” I have been trying to find out online for a few days. Thanks from a fan of New Zealand and its excellent literary community. Good wishes from Calgary, Canada!

  5. admin Says:

    Sam, I’m so glad to have been the one to tell you the good news that MM is OK. I was told by a friend in Sydney; dunno how he knew, but he’s that kind of person – always knows stuff you need to be told. Belinda

  6. Tim Jones Says:

    It is a beautiful song, isn’t it? I connected first and foremost with the sadness in the first six lines, but I’m glad that the hope in the chorus has come through to you.

  7. admin Says:

    It really is a great song, isn’t it, so energetically confident in its hopefullness. You can always rely on Springsteen to come up with an anthem!

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