Fire Storms

 

Litany for the Dying

Out there they are burning a stubble field.
The streets of town are filled with smoke.
The forests are on fire, and our fate is sealed.

Sun bloody coin, the smoke will not yield.
They are farmers of clay, just old plain folk.
Out there they are burning a stubble field.

Machines are the physicians, many lives reeled.
The pulse is weak, breath shallow, spirit broke.
The forests are on fire, and our fate is sealed.

Torch all the stubble, it’s not there to shield
the life of a mouse, the soil to cloak.
Out there they are burning a stubble field.

Everything green the oxen have peeled,
faithless the gifts of wheel, harness, and yoke.
The forests are on fire, and our fate is sealed.

A child cries with hope to be healed
from nightmares and dreams which never are spoke.
Out there they are burning a stubble field;
the forests are on fire, and our fate is sealed.

Published in For the Love of Death, the early years, 2nd ed., S.I.N., 1993; published first on line at johnsmithiimxiii.blogspot.com

 

*

Last year, when the fires in the Western U.S. were relentless and the smoke was so bad that I had started wearing a mask to try and save my lungs while working out in it, I began to recall writing something about the infernos that were beginning to engulf us all across the face of the planet.  It took me a long time to find it.  It must have been written sometime in the ’80s.  It was one of my early experiments with a villanelle.  History is filled with the great fires and destruction of humanities cities: London, Rome, the great library of Alexandria, Chicago, San Francisco.  We are seeing something broader than these events, something that is a threat to our species, and we have been looking at the looming specter for quit some time.

 

 

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About johnsmithiiimxiii

John Smith, IIMXIII is the avatar of an award winning poet, artist, etc. who still lives in the Palouse country of the Pacific NW. He has not received much notice with his prose . . . but as his avatar, I hope that he keeps plugging along.

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