Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bush Fire

The local area was ravaged with bush fires, we had no damage, bar having to evacuate and the little girl having nightmares for the next few weeks. sadly several friends and acquaintances lost property. Today is another day of total fire bans. This poem is a sort of cousin to this one. This is the third time I have been caught up in bush fires, lucky nothing bad has ever happened to us personally.

The murdering melting sun
Ezra neoplatonic wise
Pounds relentless
Pure fire of the sun
Removes moisture
And water is best
While gold glitters
A fire in the night

And the grass turns brown
Shatters and turns to shards
And dust crush crunching underneath

A tree smouldering root system
A dome of heat extending
Across the country
Unprecedented in scale

Staging area paddock helicopter
Fixed wing asset spotter plane

Plumes of smoke rising
The breezes swirling now this way
Now that way - desiccating wind
Property owner anxiety
Breeding dog howling wind

Smoke rises and smudges
The horizon the colour
Of chillers water cups
A melon of all colours
Smearing into dirty brown

The trucks raining up and down
The streets a steady stream
Of cars retreating
And Vietnam childhood reporting
Loud rabbit thumping rotors

The winter rains fail
The spring rains falter
And the hills turn brown

A tan child running fun legs
Brown hills crackle
And break apart the fifth
Day wicket after four hard
Fought days of balls hitting
And cleats digging
Brown dirty tub water
A memory day of dodging holes
Sniffing for treasure

Helicopters holding river heavy
Buckets fly overheard head
Fixed wing spotter planes

Like fumaroles on the volcanic
Etna flank hills the smoke rises
Mingles with the eucalypt oils
Of the dried out hills
Of treachery and clouds
Of plumes of smoke that rash rise
Toxic rash into the heavens
Of the upper air solid
And the light of sun falls
Solid rays and lines onto
The landscape dry and dangerous

Next day all was smoke
In the morning even the ocean
Was obscured muffled sounds
Of restless waves shattering
The cold wet sand

We high tailed it out of town
Packed the kids the dog
The tent and sleeping bags
The children into the van
Drove past the lines of smoke
And fire trucks of flashing lights
And action and motion

Behind the night ridge line
Dresden glow of fire storm
Brown private hills catch fire
And I watch from my balcony
The roaring the jumping the leaping
Laughing like a thing alive
Alove fires expand and grow
Blanketing two low hills

And the feeble eerie
Gallows of wan Monet
Noon tide paleness sunlight
Through the endless smoke

Sand the waves are dirty
Witch ash and half consumed
Leaves of gum trees
And the ashes are thrown
Upon the fiercest Sirens
Into the height of the sky
And all night they drift
And drop back down the earth
Out from the sea washing
Up unloved upon the cold
Wet sand full of life.

The pic was taken on the beach, by me a few hours before we left the area. 

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