Saturday, September 9, 2017

Irma and The Merchant of Venice


Here I am, sitting on a beautiful, sunny Aegean island, utterly glued to a TV as natural disasters of unheard of historic proportions crisscross our world.  I’m not sure if they’re on top of, below, or in addition to the plethora of man-made political disasters out there simultaneously raging for attention, but nature’s wrath has pushed thoughts of man’s foibles and follies out of my mind, at least temporarily.  

That said, Portia’s speech in Act 4, Scene 1 of the Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare kept running through my mind. [N.B. If you didn’t know it was his work until I mentioned Willy’s name, then you probably won’t appreciate what follows.]

Not being one to resist tinkering with a classic poetic masterpiece, I updated her Honor’s pitch to justice, to address Hurricane Irma and what lesson there may be for us in it—and the many other natural disasters plaguing our planet. Here goes: 

The quality of Irma is not constrained,
It droppeth not as gentle rain from heaven
Upon the sea beneath: but is aimed west;
To target him that stays, not she that flees.
'Though mightiest last midweek, Irma now sees succumb
Proud Miami armed with rage and frown;
To her specter of the force of nature’s power,
An attribute to flaw and travesty,
In those heads that doth not grasp rightful things.
For nature ignores such misguided ways;
And enthrones in the heart of all things,
An attribute to God’s power itself;
That man’s earthly powers cannot challenge God's
Nature, seasons or justice. Therefore, You,
Though no floods be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the path of nature, none of us
Will find salvation: in prayer for mercy;
Unless that same prayer doth teach us all to render
Misdeeds to nature, and others in our clutch
That mitigate life and churn up our seas,
We’ll soon follow the looming curse of Venice,
And give sentence ‘gainst our very being.




  1. My 6 year old granddaughter trying to figure out why God would let hurricanes happen. She is very confused. So am I!!! But God IS in control. I told her to pray for the people and say thanks for her blessings. I join you in prayer for all in harm's way.

    1. Your grsnddaughter asks some very good questions, Carol. Just like her grandma. :)

  2. I always know we're in trouble when you don your Shakespeare cape and start leaping across the rooftops. Or being blown across them.

  3. Oh my, EvKa, you're giving away the final scene of my new book, The Agony and the Antagonist.