Ghazal of the Dust Bowl

Once, the farmers made a living off the dirt and dust,
Now the wind has turned on them, carrying away the dust.

 Acres of wheat waved proudly under the sun,
But the wheat is gone, all that remains is dust.

 Mothers sweep out the house and try to keep clothes clean.
Their effort is futile: everywhere, even in the beds, is dust.

 Fences can’t stop it, people getting lost out in it
As black clouds roll in and everyone braces for dust.

 Mud on my hands from coughing and breath coming short,
Choking me as the doctor proclaims “Pneumonia, from inhaling dust.”

 The cattle ain’t here no more,
After all, they can’t eat dust.

 Buried in a night no lamp can pierce,
Too dark to see with eyes blinded by dust.

 “If it rains,” but the rain don’t come.
Just the wind, trapping us in a bowl of dust.

Some folks proclaim it’s the end of the world,
That God will destroy us sinners in dust.

 Despite having seen both drought and flood,
I, Elizabeth, cannot comprehend how it would have been, living in dust.


Elizabeth Schaulat is twenty-two years old and a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma. She enjoys reading and writing poetry in her spare time and occasionally makes forays into the world of the ghazal. Her favorite part of writing a ghazal is creating little pieces of poetry that connect into one thought.