Posts Tagged ‘Victoria’

Fire/Poem

Posted: February 12, 2009 in Ink & Feather
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1.

just a spark. a tiny star,
winking in dropped glass
beside sticky tarmac, or else
an ember squeezed from a cigarette,
a sharp red dream in a firebug’s heart.
what madness, pain, will it impart?

2.

roaring gold, the maw devours
homes, lives, plants
as easily
as terror, longing, grief
steal hours.
a cancerous lung, the smoke consumes;
pauses, gathers strength
& then resumes.

3.

the wind is wild as a witch’s curse,
stinging with scarlet thorns
its Phaeton-mares, frenzied,
pulling a charcoal hearse.
sun’s chariot falls like a hammer-blow,
a wall of burning grief,
a searing loss, & while the anguish lasts
it will not cease.

4.

they hide in the earth,
seek sanctuary
that Dresden’s force denies.
above, dams boil & hearts explode
& weep as dogs lie bravely down,
a sea of guardians who will not rise.
they could have strayed,
but faithfully did not:
their masters stayed.

5.

trees shatter into swollen skies,
bursting like ripened fruit
in the fire’s hard hand. we knew the risks;
we understood
the perils of our lovely, sunswept land.
they were not this: to stay or go, but burn
without a choice. birds died aloft:
small angels, lacking voice.

6.

now only ash remains, & twisted shells.
where once sang lyrebirds,
we sift the wrecks, the dark, unlovely hells
of loss. such wounds run deep,
& still the fires burn.
we dare not sleep.

Fire

Posted: February 9, 2009 in Fly-By-Night
Tags: , , , , , ,

I amΒ stricken by the number of dead in the Victorian bushfires.

Early yesterday afternoon, it was 16. Then it jumped to 47. Less than two hours later, it was at 66, and by evening, it was in the high seventies.

This morning, it reached 108. Then 116.

Less than half an hour ago, it reached 128.

31 fires are still burning. More than 5,000 people are homeless, with more than 750 homes destroyed.

I’ve never been strong with numbers. But these overwhelm me.

Β 

Update, 10/02/2009:Β  173 are confirmed dead, but police think the toll could rise as high as 300.Β Nearly 1,000 homes have been destroyed. What can anyone say to that?

Update, 12/02/2009:Β  The toll stands at 181, but police have stopped updating it. I don’t blame them.

Update, 05/03/2009: Not all the fires are out, but according to today’s Age, the worst of the season is over. Black Saturday has killed 210 people, but some remains are still being identified. Still: the rain has come.