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Lost In Smoke

Updated on June 22, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

Wildfires are burning across the hot dry grounds

Popping, cracking, sizzling, a symphony of sounds

Raging out of control like some cruel evil joke

Burning all it touches; sending it up in smoke

Houses burned to foundations; all possessions lost

Keepsakes, souvenirs, fine things; valued beyond the cost

Lost to the leaping flames the hot, dry winds so stoke

Lost to all but our memory, lost in the smoke

Ashes and embers coat the ground where vegetation grew

The landscape so beautiful; it was the home we knew

Then like thieves robbing in the night for their stolen toke

The flames take the precious beauty; gone up in smoke

Winds blowing dry and wild urging this beast along

Howling in the tree tops as if the devil were in song

Bringing soot and ash to the grounds that we broke

Ripping it from our possession; lost in the smoke

Brave men and women fight from both ground and air

Breaking backs and risking lives all for a stranger’s fare

Yet the hot, dry wind is relentless in the flames that it stokes

Overwhelming human courage as it all goes up in smoke

Ol’ Mother Nature can be sure be a heartless one

Sending burning flames forth that seem to climb to the sun

Burning everything in the path of her broad, windy stroke

All the beautiful little animals and flowers; lost in the smoke

Mankind will not give up; the fires will finally be controlled

But nothing can bring back the things the cruel flames stole

The land is marked with the anger; the beauty has been broke

Our living world is soot and ashes; the rest is up in smoke

Time will heal the scars and bring beauty to cover the strife

Folks will slowly get back to normal and get on with this life

Damage will be erased ironically by Mother Nature’s stroke

But tears will long be shed for little things lost in the smoke

© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @attemptedhumor...The U.S. suffers most in the southwestern region where the climate is dry and the winds blow hard...a great combination. In the early summer, we had a series of wildfires west of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area that burned within about 50 miles of the metroplex before it was contained. Although we have the winds and the dry conditions, we have been lucky here. To the west many people have not. You description of the conditions there in Australia are quite should write a hub about it all. That would be quite good. Thanks for the good words on the poem...amazing how things can be so similar which are so many thousands of miles apart. WB

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      A terrific poem Wayne covering all the heartache that accompanies these normally annual events. I say normally, because last summer Australia's Victorian state citizens were spared another fire storm. The previous year brought us black saturday with the highest ever recorded temp' of 48.6 degrees centigrade and one hunred and thirty kilometer winds. The whole town of Marysville was erased from the map. Over a hundred people lost their lives, and many lost their homes and livelihoods. We live eight kilometers from the centre of Melbourne, but there was a fire in woodlands two kilometers from us that the fire authority only just managed to contain. Deliberately lit too along with some of the other fires that day. We also have a weekender in a non-fightable bush setting near the top of a hill. There are about twenty houses there, with one road in or out. Hot windy days means staying in the city. We have cleared the block to the best of our ability and can just hope for the best. We really feel for you guys when fire strikes, as i'm sure you do for us. Cheers buddy. Top draw poem.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Pamela99...Thank you...I wanted to capture the emotion of the fire and the stubborn nature of it. I hope I did that. These are tough times with Mother Nature. WB

      @WillStarr...You are so correct, Will. Mother Nature has ways of cleansing herself and when mankind parks himself in the middle of that nature he generally loses. WB

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Fires are nature's clean up experts. When a forest becomes littered with deadfalls and brush, fires clean up the mess and rejuvenate. However, man is also a clean up expert, and where old growth is largely free of such fuels due to man's efforts, fires are usually contained to grasses and low underbrush. Trees escape largely unharmed.

      Wilderness designations keep man out, and undergrowth becomes uncontrolled. After that, all it takes is a spark.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      This is a beautiful heartbreaking hub. In Jacksonville we are living with constant smoke most days from all the fires in southern GA, particularly those in the swamp as they are so difficult to put out. Between the tornadoes, floods and fires there sure is a lot of tragedy happening this year. Rated up and awesome as usual.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @WillStarr...So true, Will. It's something people need to think more about before risking that money I suppose because Mother Nature will never change her ways. WB

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Lots of people buy land and build a retirement cabin in the big timber. Things like this just wipe them out, and they are too old to ever see it recover.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Hypenbird...Thank you, I wanted to capture some of the drama associated with the fires...once you get up close with them, they are quite intimidating. WB

      @Cardisa...Yes, many folks in the southwestern areas of the USA (especially) live with the threat of these wild fires on a yearly basis. Draught conditions and dry winds turn the areas into tinderboxes where a lightning strike or a carelessly handled cigarette can do a multitude of damage. WB

      @Harvey Stelman...That sounds like a good formula, Harv but I suppose Mother Nature has her reasons. WB

      @saddlerider1...Maybe we'll have to use Hank Jr's advice and do it like the "country boys"....You know he says a "country boy can survive". Mother Nature may be the only force which can counter the influence of the Obama Administration! LOL! WB

      @DzyMsLizzy...The wildfires are so destructed and move so fast. They leave people little or no time to react. Mankind is rather interesting in that he/she will endure such actions from Mother Nature and attempt to hang on hoping that will be the last never is. WB

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Very powerful imagery, and hence, very sad. I hate to see fires happen. We had a fire in our shop back in 2007. That was bad enough, but very small as fires go... lost some THINGS, but no structural damage...just smoke damage mostly..and that was bad enough that it was not cleanable..had to gut the building & re-do.

      So, my heart really goes out to anyone caught in the path of a firestorm...I cry for them.

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      Great videos to accompany a gripping and heated scribe my friend. It's so sad to see people lose everything they worked for and cherished, and then to see it all go up in smoke. Mother Nature is a serious task master and brings us all to our knees in so many catastrophes on our planet.

      Look at all the devastation in many different countries, Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Iceland, USA and others. It's dam scary out there Wayne, maybe there is some truth in the speculations and theories about 2012 and the Mayan calendar ending...hmmmmmmm food for thoughts for sure. Peace and blessings to you.

    • HattieMattieMae profile image

      HattieMattieMae 6 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

      well I'll be happy to send it your way harvey, I have plenty these last few weeks! :)

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

      Wayne, Why don't we get rain in Arizona, and sunshine along the Mississippi? It's not fair! H

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Wayne,

      This is so scary. Living in an area that has a lot of wildfires must be horrifying at times.

      Your poem tells it well.

      Good job.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      This is (no surprise) a great and well written poem. The subject matter is so painful and you brought vivid awareness to the suffering land and people.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @HattieMattieMae...Thank you...I appreciate those good words! WB

    • HattieMattieMae profile image

      HattieMattieMae 6 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

      Wow a very good image and illustration. Very well done.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Truckstop Sally...Wow, if Houston catches fire, that could burn a long time! Thanks for all those great words...I love 'em! WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Areas outside of Houston are getting a taste of Mother Nature's firey wrath. I know fire is necessary in the wild for regrowth, etc -- but close to people . . . Very scary. Your weather and natural disaster poems are quite intense - honest, gripping, powerful -- just like the phenomenon of your subjects.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Just Ask Susan...Mother Nature is both the destructor and the rebuilder...She can be tough! Thanks for the good words. WB

      @drbj...Things can be taken away quite easily and quickly. Some of it can never be replaced but we have to focus on the truly important things in life and go on. Thanks, Doc. WB

      @Motown2Chitown...Thanks, those good words are much apprectiated. WB

      @breakfastpop...Yes, my son just had to evacauate out of southeastern Arizona to avoid that wildfire. Luckily the fire was brought under control before hitting the town. But it got me thinking. WB

      @dahoglund...Mix some really dry air with some wind and things can turn into a tinderbox rather rapidly especially if there has been little rain for a while. We see it every year now in west Texas. WB

      @Dim Flaxenwick...Thank you, those words of encouragement are greatly appreciated! WB

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

      Great poem and a wonderful tribute to the men who put themselves in danger every day.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Wayne. I suppose it could even happen here in Wisconsin. there is a reason the name of our county is "wood."

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      What a tragedy and what a awesome piece of writing. Up and awesome.

    • profile image

      Motown2Chitown 6 years ago

      Heartful, soulful, and meaningful. Beautiful, Wayne. :-)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      It's so easy for the treasures we collect in a lifetime to go up in smoke in minutes in raging fires like these. Wonderfully written, Wayne - as always.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      "Ol’ Mother Nature can be sure be a heartless one"

      she sure can at that. My heart goes out to everyone that has to endure this.

      Wonderful poem!