PPNA Happenings

Happenings, history and news of the Prospect Park Neighborhood and Ypsilanti

A Poem about the Cyclone of 1893

Posted by ppna on July 30, 2008

I thought I’d post another Ypsilanti Poem I found. This one ends well as it compares Ypsilanti to Babylon and warns us to be pure like our sister Ann.

The Original Poems of E.F. Johnstone

The following lines were composed by Mr. Johnstone as he stood gazing on the ruins caused by the cyclone that visited Ypsilanti on the 12th of April 1893

The Cyclone
The mighty wind, the breath of God,
Struck Ypsilanti Yester eve;
It raved and tore
While people swore,
It smashed the glass in house and store,
And left the town to grieve

It struck the “Hawkins” at the rear;
The Opera House demolished quite;
The Cleary College in its wrath
It swept in fragments from its path,
And with a sold, sardonic laugh,
It left it ‘out of sight.’

It struck the ‘Occidental,’ too,
It scattered brick, and sash, and glass;
The inmates stricken were with awe,
And dropped was every lower jaw,
They stared at what they heard and saw,
The crash – the debris mass.

It hit the Carriage Factory “Square,”
It swept the roof adown the street,
It played with lovely maidens’ hair,
It tossed their ringlets in the air,
Hoop-Skirts presented pictures rare,
Exposing pretty feet.

It raved among the lofty trees,
Whose infant foliage kissed the sky,
It tore their branches in its rage,
Which naught but havoc could assuage
It seemed that devils from the ‘cage’
Were celebrating high

It spared the churches and saloons,
But still the people in them trembled,
In one the people praised the Lord,
In one the people whisky poured.
The while the wind in a fury roared
And freighted those assembled.

It passed a whisky shop and smelt
The rank decoctions that it sold,
And with a murmur of disgust
It spread its wings – away it rushed –
And in a moment all was hushed.
This is the story told

Ah! Little Babylon, beware!
Be pure, as in your sister, Ann,
Else God will sweep you through the air
Like devils dancing the Kan-Kan


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