On a bright and sunny day
on the 18th of may
An earthquake resulted in a landslide
That unleashed a massive force brewing inside
The eruption removed the upper 1,300 feet
The magma chamber burst, rock and gas blown at supersonic speed
Within 8 miles, all was instantly wrecked
With a shockwave so big, what could one expect?
As the north slope collapsed down
Life forms began to drown
Every tree in sight swept away
19 miles outward; a ruinous ashtray
Silence breaks as ash falls like snow
The once mature landscape now just an embryo
What had become a lifeless terrain,
Now shows us what 35 years can attain.
After the volcanic cataclysm
Biological legacies determine the pace of new ecosystems
The following colonizers proceed:
Lupines, pearly everlasting, alder shrubs, and fireweed.
The coniferous forest was replaced
The deciduous Alder trees won the race
The new forest attracts grasshoppers, birds, and ants
Larks, gophers, sparrows and deer mice take a chance
Out of 256 species alive prior to the eruption,
86 are now in production
20% of the surface is covered with grass and legumes
Struggling young trees that endeavor to bloom
Ecological gaps begin to fill
Strong ecosystems form, production is uphill.
Elk arrives to munch on grass and bark
The thick forests attract birds, like larks.
Fallen logs create nutrients and feed biofilm to the lake
Floating ecosystems now have a plenty resources to take
Elevation effects the rate of recovery report.
The higher the colder which means growing season is short.
The loss of trees means more room for sun
As the lake warms up, there’s increased production
More insects and bigger fish, like rainbow trout
Salamanders scarce now, not many about.
Lupins deserve their own stanza, those purple legumes.
They help make pumice landscape suitable for others to bloom.
Lupins create essential nutrients the pumice is low on
Other plants are thankful for the rare space to grow on.
All this information hopefully to inspire,
Life pulls through in situations most dire.
Mount Saint Helens’ destructive wake is seen clearly today,
The eruption that obliterated had also paved a way.