orange tongue seeks anything left life left screams caught caught forests burn amazed humans finally understand death / no breathing over and over and over again people try to find ways around deny this -- the end the ancestors dreaded believe they are on messiah’s side there is no messiah there is no side no stutters of should-have-done quench this reality – fire storms rain despair despair flails the heart smoke haunts what is alive / its beguiling fingers search any left daring to hope crackle and moan / spit all moisture from the bone I feel what I am – something quickly lost can I remember what I wished for? all I loved and all the rest quickly / gone
Forests Burn — I wrote this poem in 2020 about fires in the US, but I am publishing it now because of climate-related fires that broke out in the UK during a two-day record breaking heatwave (18/19 July 2022). Please see https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-uk-wildfires/
By 18 December iof 2020 there had been about 57,000 wildfires in the United States according to the National Interagency Fire Center. More than 10.3 million acres burned in 2020. Ten percent of “wild” fires are started by lightning or lava. But 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by people, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. Human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, downed power lines, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson. The uncontrollable spread of these fires into towns and cities is attributable to drought, high winds , “natural” things, which have been cyclical, but whose cycles are interfered with by human effect on our climate.
Poem by Jo Mariner / Image by RAJESH misra