Hell on Earth


Image: Smoke Clouds ~ Jety

Red sunrise burning
Wind howling among the trees:
Nature is unleashed

The beauty of fire:
An unstoppable fury
Dancing on the wind

Eucalypt forest:
Ancient trees of memory
Scorched by angry flames

Smoke clouding the sky:
Embers falling like raindrops
In the darkest light

Twenty years of life
Reduced to rubble and ash:
We have each other

A fallen tree trunk:
Cars abandoned by the road
Toys scattered inside

Amidst the burnt grass
A single flower remains:
A lone miracle

The sadness of night:
Survivors gather to pray
Tears fall down your face

A city of tents:
Shelter and home to many
Memories survive

Red sunset fading
Raindrops falling to the ground:
A young country mourns

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7 thoughts on “Hell on Earth

  1. I am void of words, yet I am astonished by the beauty from such devastation. The horror can not relayed with 1 and 0’s. I hope it has not destroyed lives of those close to you. Talk with you at another time, as I have to close for now.

  2. There is a spacious beauty in your words, cj. I was moved. Your bravery in also calling the fire “beautiful”, contrasted with the imagery of the single flower, touched me. Such events are filled with contrasts.

  3. Yes, I hope you did not get the impression I was wishing for the destruction for the sake of beauty.

    I spent several years, studying fire and replicating its metphors in my art work. Not taking into account what is happening the mere color of fire is beautiful. Yet, if we look at regeneration the Phoenix rising from the ashes kind of thing then we can rejoice. Even as a metphor in our lives as humans, when events happen that bring us to emotional devastation, or consumed say by the lose of love or whatever, we can focus on the remains or flap our wings, rise above and reap what can be fashioned by the ending of one thing and the beginning of another. Though somethings need considerable time before we can rise above.

  4. What a fabulous poem, cj, and the follow-up post is equally moving. The photos and videos we saw in the States were simply beyond words, but you found the perfect ones.

    Peace to you and yours.

    (blog looks fabulous, btw)

  5. Incredibly moving poem ..somehow the cadence matches the tragedy….life goes on…and everywhere is beauty…often in the harshest of places and times

  6. Thank you to everyone for your comments about my poem. I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to reply; I’ve been extremely unwell these last few weeks and have had to cut back on my time online to cope. I appreciate all your kind words. It’s hard to believe it has been two months since the fires now; it doesn’t feel like it. The images still seem so vivid.

    Deb – I know what you mean about the beauty of fire. I’ve always had a deep love for nature and there’s a savage beauty about the Australian landscape in particular; a part of that is fire, dating back to the early Aborigines who used to burn the land to stimulate new growth. Fire is a part of our culture and there is a beauty in it, even if it’s a terrible beauty at times. But as you said, it can also bring hope, like with the story of the phoenix… I guess that is what I was trying to capture with my poem as well. I’m glad it did for you.

    We were lucky in that we didn’t know anyone who was directly impacted by the fires but we know towns just like those lost, so it’s easy to imagine what people have been going through. In many ways I think we have all lost something, the land as well; it will take time for us to heal. I know writing this helped me; I hope other people can find their way as well.

    Muse – I’m glad the poem moved you so much. I really wanted it to feel like the reader was looking in from a distance, almost like a bird hovering in the sky and looking down; I wanted the verse to feel stark and simple, to contrast with the imagery it evoked, like the flower.

    I do think fire is beautiful; I don’t understand people who blame nature for tragedies like this – fire is a terrible force we must respect, a part of the country we love. Overall I just feel terribly sad about what happened, as I do with the earthquake in Italy; you can’t predict these disasters and perhaps in the end all you can do is to try to find a little bit of hope.

    Thank you for your kind words, as always.

  7. Ella – Thank you, I’m glad you liked the poem. I was a little hesitant posting it as I didn’t want it to seem too soon but it felt like something I needed to write, and the follow-up post as well. The photos and video seemed to capture that day so well, like moments frozen in time… it really was hell on earth.

    And thank you for the compliment. I’m still making some tweaks to the design every now and then, but I’ve been quite happy since I went to self-hosting. It’s been very freeing so far.

    Take care, and many blessings to you.

    MQ – Thank you for your kind words. I really wanted the structure of the poem to reflect the devastation, to feel stark so that the imagery it created would tell its own story.

    In many ways that day felt like the perfect storm to me; everything that could go wrong did, and the extent of the destruction was unbelievable. But there is still hope too… in what survived, in the way people came together. I think it’s important we remember that too, going forward. As you said, there is often still beauty, even in the harshest of times.

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