After the tremblor, all the piers have shifted;
The dinghies play a hornpipe: roll, pitch, and yaw;
It’s only that the continent has drifted;
Ice cubes rattle when the glaciers withdraw.
Gondwanaland still lies beneath this vaudeville;
Tidal friction slows our earthly whirling;
The children shriek, but turbulence is reassuring
And keeps the mantle molten, time inaudible.
NOTES for Students of English
Tremblor – An earthquake; a variant of “temblor” influenced by “trembler.”
Gondwanaland – A hypothetical early continent thought by geologists to have linked land masses that later separated to form the current continents.
Earthly – Despite its link here with the scientific term “tidal friction,” the adjective “earthly” is a religious word used in opposition to “heavenly.”
Mantle – The layer of the earth between the crust and the core.