And so …

golden smoke blocks the sun as I stand witness
while winds shift to blow barging into planned days
and so...
I am listening.

What better offering could I make
while extending my reach to you?
My throat burns with an ache to howl.
As the people flee, where is safety now?

So many blue sky days 
led us to false views.
We are all running from something.
walking away from something else.

I'm sending my love on the wind,
the force that both heats and cools.
Both helpful and harmful, depending,
contradictions of the mingled smokey fear.

Tangles of the unknowable 
ringed history, as mystery 
held by the forest guardians
now ash returning to soil.

As flames fly from tree to tree,
igniting compassionate hope or hatred
I see through the window
goodbye waves from living limbs of the still green.

and I feel your heat from miles away.
© Ali Grimshaw 2020

Oregon's Current Total Fires 37
Total Acreage Burned 805,332.364

Strong winds spread numerous wildfires in Oregon and Washington By Bill Gabbert


50 thoughts on “And so …

  1. Ali, I didn’t know you lived in Oregon. I’m up in southwest Washington and the smoke here has been really bad, though I know it’s even worse where you are. (My son lives in Portland.) We’ve been stuck inside for 10+ days now….hoping conditions start to improve soon along the whole west coast. I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to actually be close to one of the many fires. So many lives lost – along with flora and fauna….
    Hope you’re doing all right, and that we all get some relief soon. Take good care.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Betty,
      Thank you for your good wishes. The air continues to be horrific here and I, like you, am staying inside. I doubt anyone will take clean air for granted after this. Thanks for taking the time to read my poems. I appreciate it. Take good care


  2. This is stunning. Eloquent and let me find a word…yes, heart breaking too. It must have really gotten difficult down there. I hope it gets better. Meanwhile, let me tell you, this piece brought me a sense of healing, much needed nonetheless. Thank you friend. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shanyu,
      I write to give and I can’t thank you enough for letting me know that my words matter to you. Life is heartbreaking and heart expanding all in the same day. It keeps me going to hear that this poem brought a sense of healing. Words from the heart can do that. Keep shining your light. The world needs what only you can give.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ali,
        Exactly, you’ve put it perfectly. Life is heart breaking and heart warming at the same time. I am actually humbled the be able to write for this poem.
        Words from the heart can do that, right. And yours are from the deepest parts of your heart.
        I cannot thank you enough myself for letting me read this piece. The world may be a crumbling palace, but as long as there is hope, we continue to exist. I found hope here. I hope you find it in these volatile times too.


    1. Jane,
      There are so many who have lost everything. Thank you so much for reading my words and sharing yours with me. One thing that is keeping me going is writing with others and connecting with other poets.
      Take care.


  3. It’s utterly devastating to read about the wildfires burning accross California, Oregon and Washington states. Watching everything burn and walking through a scenes of devastation on top of everything that’s already happening in the world is tragedy. I hope you and your family are safe and sound Ali 💝

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your kind support. We are safe and watching the evacuation maps. The wind has slowed today and hopefully the fires will burn themselves out. The smoke is awful. It is time to dig deep and keep my eyes on love. I am grateful to still have a home. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That was beautifully written, Ali. We’re in eastern Washington and have fires nine miles north. We keep our to go bags packed by the front door. I fear the entire west coast is gonna burn off the map! Be safe😷🙏🏻❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sue,
      I am lifted by knowing that my words spoke to you today. We are experiencing so much smoke and displacement here. I am keeping my eyes on love and gratitude for being able to stay in my home. Glad to hear you are safe. Take good care.


  5. Has to be wretched living in the proximity of such destruction – the trees, the wildlife, and the mere humans huddling and hoping it doesn’t reach them. Very sad to anticipate the aftermath, yet I cross my fingers the fires will burn themselves out somehow, the scars reminders of how little control we have over Nature. My heart goes out to all on the west coast. Your lines take my breath – especially: “mystery / held by the forest guardians / now ash returning to soil.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jazz,
      Great to hear from you. I have always looked to nature to expand my thinking. Endings are part of life’s cycle and yet it is so sad to see wildlife and people lose their homes. Writing always helps me to process my experience as one small human on this huge planet. I hope my words reach those who are seeking connection and I I am grateful for our connection here today. We are all in this together regardless of how far apart we think we are.
      I hope you are taking good care of your heart. Keep writing. Sending you love and light.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ali, you have so eloquently captured in a few stanzas, the gamut of feelings and experiences that I sense coming from the west coast. I am glad to know you are safe, even as you know others are not and have lost much. I send love and blessings to you and all who are directly or indirectly impacted by this incredible and too frequent experience of a planet in crisis. May we see, feel and help heal the people, and then step forward to reclaim and heal our planet.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I know how you’re feeling Ali… we were there 8 months ago….

        “In the Light of Night”

        Mum, what I see is really real
        I’m not a walrus or a seal
        This night’s sky’s glowing and alive
        Clear as yesterday’s midday drive
        Look up there, through the old red gum
        I’m not making things up Mum!

        Look up there, where blackness was a sea
        The man in the moon was laughing at me
        Then I saw his hungry moon eat the dark
        And spit out the stars as red bark

        Don’t worry son, I’ll stay with you tonight
        The angry bushfires have turned on their sky lights

        Liked by 1 person

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