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Poetry Friday – fiery edition

Welcome to Poetry Friday, hosted right here this week.

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In western Canada, we’ve had an extra early start to the forest fire season this year. Last week the entire town of Fort McMurray in north-east Albert had to evacuate (85,000+ people).  A fire that had started just few days earlier was whipped into a frenzy by winds and aided by extreme dryness, no leaves on the trees, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures. It moved so quickly and unexpectedly, some people had only minutes to gather their things and flee town.

The fire, that continues to burn, has left that city and moved into less populated areas. Now comes evaluating the damage and rebuilding. My heart goes out to the people of Fort McMurray.

Forest fires are a common phenomenon of western Canadian summers. Though I have never been threatened by one, I have seen enough news footage to imagine the experience. I wrote the poem below some years ago.

canada-fire

This picture was the prompt that helped inspire the poem below.

Forest Usurper

Born a common spark
baby tongue creeps, crawls
nibbles grasses, needles, twigs.

Lambent cub
egged on by wind
runs and leaps, laughs and licks.

Hungry adolescent hunts
smorgasbord of pine, hemlock, fir,
belches plumes of caustic smoke.

Suffocating stench
stampedes forest creatures
to the glittering river

sends wild-eyed homeowners in 4x4s
loaded with papers, photos, pets
traffic-jam creeping from his pounce.

He is king of the heat now
dancing on the forest crown
swishing his tail on the summit.

Buzzing dragonflies spit
bucket after bucket of pink.
Under his gauzy skin, beast continues to binge.

Only heaven’s tears carry the clout
to say Enough, to stop the treason.
Still he plots, smoldering in caves of blackened roots.

Copyright©2009 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Interested in forest fires? Macleans Magazine‘s “Q&A: What you need to know about the science of forest fires” has lots of interesting information.

I thought of the many teachers and educators that contribute to Poetry Friday when I read the story “When evacuation was ordered, Fort McMurray principal fled with busload of students.” I’m sure all of you would show the same courage, presence of mind, and dedication to the kids that she did!

Now it’s your turn!  Please click on the Mr. Linky button below and leave your links on the page that opens.  Thank you!

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Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Nature, Poetry Friday

 

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Forest Fire Roundel

Water bomber

Water bomber fighting a fire near Prince George – July 2014 (Photo © 2015 by V. Nesdoly)

Forest Fire Roundel

The forest’s a pyre of crackling heat
bombers are buzzing, flame fighters for hire
glisten black sweat as they hack, spray and beat.
The forest’s a pyre.

Crashing through undergrowth, vaulting barbed wire
squirrel, deer, raccoon dash a panic retreat
to the roar of the fire-wind, flames leaping higher.

Wildfire fighters resist all defeat
as they backhoe and guard, seeming never to tire.
Sweethearts and wives pray below in the street
for the forest’s a pyre.

© 2013 Violet Nesdoly (first published in the Dr. William Henry Drummond Poetry Contest Anthology 2013)

 

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What dreadful scenes we’re seeing on the news about wildfires in the south of B.C. and Washington State. My thoughts and prayers are with firefighters and their families in these difficult days.

 

Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Catherine at Reading to the Core.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Form poems, Poetry Friday

 

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