Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Jamaican Earthquake Of 1907

HARK to the Caribbean's mournful dirge! It is Wednesday night. The earthquake was on Monday afternoon. Judging by the course Orion has made across the skies, the hours of darkness must now be well nigh spent. Yes, there is the Southern Cross just rising above the water front, its splendor dimmed by the cloud of smoke and steam ascending from straightened Kingston.

The noontide rays of the tropical sun have searched the ruin's heaps, and brought corruption on the mangled bodies of man and beast alike. All yesterday and the day before the city carts passed along these streets and the half-burnt remains of human forms were cast into them. Then out to the open fields they hurried the grewsome freight to give the dead at least an unmarked grave.

Even the crudest burial has now to be foregone, and so the charred and putrefying forms are dragged from the smouldering debris, and piled at the intersection of the streets. With the aid of turpentine and torch, there quickly rises from each thoroughfare a glint of light, and then a ruddy flame which turns to a murky angry glare as sputter and crackle the writhing victims on each ghastly pyre.

Link (here) to the full piece entitled Whisperings in the Caribbean by Fr. Joseph J. William, S.J. publish in The Messenger of the Sacred Heart, by the Apostleship of Prayer in January 1909

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