The Fires: A Poem

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The state’s most destructive wildfire ever is beginning its slow fade into history. Officials declared the Waldo Canyon fire 100 percent contained this week. It destroyed nearly 350 homes and killed two people in the Colorado Springs area last month. The fire made Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason think he ought to try and write a poem about what had happened in his state, although he did so somewhat reluctantly, as he explains in this audio essay.

The Fires: A Poem

by David Mason

Here is a house, here is a neighborhood.

Here is a street, a door, a window, a room.

Here is a drought, here a beetled pine.

Here is a wildfire leaping from limb to roof.

There is a law of lightning, law of wood.

There is a need to burn, to lose, to grow.

There is the charred scar, there the flying ash.

To dwell is not to shelter, we should know.

Here are the people packing their cars to flee.

Here are the photos in frames, the pets on leashes.

Here are the children bewildered, coughing smoke.

Here are the firemen climbing the hills in the heat.

We are the street, we are the neighborhood.

We are the garden living and dying to bloom.

We are the parched yards, we are the trembling deer.

We are the long walk looking to find our home.