For Country School Children Perished in the Prairie Blizzard of ’52
Cruel winds dispersed the swirling white
to cover up the prairie light.
They felt its cruel keening bite
clinging to them, clear and bright
as they, too, disappeared from sight.
By the time the storm had reached its height,
not one survived to tell her plight.
They found them on that snow-banked night—
arms raised aloft with hands held tight—
two sisters lost to nature’s might.
I had heard the story of the two little Judd girls who froze to death attempting to get home from their country school just North of my home town of Murdo, South Dakota, when a blizzard hit, but I had always thought it happened long before I was born. In checking the facts, however, I discovered it was during the blizzard of ’52, when I was four years old—the same blizzard I’ve described twice on my blog. No electricity, my dad trying to get to his cattle to break the ice on their water tanks, all of use sleeping huddled around the fireplace in the living room, tunneling down main street to get into stores, stepping out of my second-story window onto a snowbank. My parents must have shielded me from the story of the two little girls—one three years older than I was, the other my sister’s age—until I was older, although my sister Patti, who is four years older than me, has since told me she knew at the time and that she had played with the two little girls at the home of their cousins, who lived in town. Here their story is told briefly, in two five-line stanzas. The prompt from dVerse Poets was to write a five-line poem. So, I cheated a bit.