The Mount Pelee Survivors’ Club

This is written from the perspective of Ludger Sylbaris, who gained fame as the only* survivor of a volcanic explosion that killed some 40,000 people on the Caribbean island of Martinique in 1902.

Mr Sylbaris survived because he had been arrested the day before the explosion and locked in a police cell underground. He was supposedly a violent man, but I like to think his heart belonged to a beautiful young lady across town.

The Mount Pelee Survivors’ Club

The breeze was the death of Saint Pierre,
A disgrace last night, I’m all who’s left to care,
This wind of change, this waking nightmare,
I’ll crawl to your house, if anyone’s left there.

Through twenty-five cans, I drank myself to exception,
My shame turned out to be my best protection,
Not fit to be your man – let’s put it to the test,
What if you and I are all that’s left?

Let’s form a club, on the odd chance you’re OK,
We’ll drink to the survivors of Mount Pelee,
Simple freedom from this underground cell,
Can’t just be the lifeless streets of this utter hell.

Every home here is broken, left alone,
I hope you went fishing, way out on your own,
I picture you wandering back, catch in hand,
Alone with this horror is nothing I can understand.

The air so deadly, the pain too much to bear,
A feeling empty as streets once walked without care,
I’m all that’s left of joy, all that’s left of sorrow,
I was drinking because I didn’t care about tomorrow.

Now I’m the only one who has one.
Unless I can find you.

Written in: 2015

*There are two other people often considered survivors, but certainly Ludger Sylbaris gained famed in some circles as the only person found alive in the city.

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