the fates thread the loom

 

before new years eve……

thick smoke envelopes our valley

coats our tongues

slipping particles into the blood stream

rivers and dams collapse under the weight

of the hot dry winds and fierce Sun

forests have sent up smoke signals

all is not well

heed the children.

 

and then one day  Fire came

orange red  flames licking

gorging on grasses wood,

devouring the tree the spider the worm

those that could scattered

rose up into the air

some diving to ground trembling bodies pressed suffocating

others fled running  for their lives

some hid to be chanced over, others fried.

 

I waited at the house

in an outfit

I had carefully selected and laid out the night before

jeans and belt

pink woollen socks big boots

singlet, green checked woollen shirt

blue crocheted woollen beanie

thick golden gloves and a face mask.

the hoses were in place

half a dozen of them in snake formation around the house.

the job description was easy,

apply water

to verandah and under

up the poles and onto windows

even the walls.

water water water

next hose next verandah repeat

oh and stay alive.

 

strangely calm

waiting, watching the advance

creeping into the bush like a thief in the night

with  an almighty roar.

John in his red woollen shirt ,

hoody up and mask on,

starts the pump

water is running from every hose

the verandah wetted from the night before

but we hose it all again.

the gutters are filled with water

watching

a ring of fire at the dam

the shack goes up

a loud  whump signals the end of  Rebeccas BMW.

fire scaling up tree trunks

gobbling shrubs ferns grasses

stringybarks bush-cherry

angophoras red gums

snapping leaves leaping dancing cavorting

and coming directly towards us.

it  picks up pace coming up the slope from the dam

a wall of flame approaches the south verandah.

John is calm

he has a the high pressure hose

fire meets water and determination

water holds

John stands firm.

 

He built this house

made every brick

from the earth in front of the house,

it literally rose up out of the ground

one brick at a time

for over 30 years a family home

one that now rings to the tune of grandchildren,

blood sweat tears births deaths marriages

this house alive, pulsates with love.

 

inside smoke is thick

visibility zero

bath tub full of skanky dam water

Zoes woollen blankets a sodden heap on the floor

a good escape to crawl under to steady the breath

before returning  outside to the heat,

the inferno the hoses and water.

embers skipping onto the roof

making holes in the clear roof panels

curling embers meet sodden verandah and vanish

no burns on the boards, no blisters on our bodies.

a window cracks in the bedroom

the window where our mobiles sit to get reception.

 

dust soot ash and charcoal coat everything

charred trunks and limbs

a whole understorey has disappeared.

will we see now?

will we wake to reality?

our Planet home

our beautiful beautiful home

trying to deal with our consumables, our plastics

our fumes our anger.

too much she cries

too much,

forgive us for we do know what we do

we know

that’s the tragedy

we know.

 

some days after the main fire front had passed

trees still smouldering

roots deep in the ground  burning,

many elder trees are continuing to fall

walking on crusty black ash

the ground as if plowed up

giant holes where once a root system lived

patterns of ash like crop circles

skirting fallen trees

shallow breathing the air

smoky thick and relentless

visibility limited.

we leave our burnt forest

drive through a silent world

a charred smouldering valley,

some neighbours houses mere rubble

power poles smashed sideways

wires curling in chaos

cows dead.

We come to our village

half the main street has been smashed

this is my new world.

 

 

the tower has fallen

the spin of ideas and aspirations has tripped

been knocked sideways

taken a slam.

the Fates thread the loom

again

They weave

brightly coloured lights bounce from fingertips

glories rarely glimpsed

consciousness stretches

tugs

elemental energies dance

holding holding holding

while the tapestry is woven

the women are Singing.

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “the fates thread the loom

  1. I cried as I read your poem — imagining the unimaginable. And from the frustration that “we know” and yet we humans continue our destructive behaviors. The Fates continue to weave patiently. Be safe.

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    1. indeed the frustration …with myself with all of it ..and still this tragedy here keeps unfolding and imagining going back to normal seems so far away and is that really our best option anyway. thank you for your tears.

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  2. Glenda

    beauty and humour in your words Sandra – the forest sending smoke signals really caught my eye; such wonderful words for such a dire event and aftermath yet your home hearth stayed and like a reverse basement cellar deep in the ground, this one of mud brick exposed on all sides as were you and John. All I could say was you did it, you did it, you fought the dragon and scared it away.

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  3. Cath Turville

    Am so relieved to know that you and john are safe and that you fought this blaze with all your might, an incredible tale to tell. Thank you for your beautiful words Sandra and much love to you and your family.

    Like

    1. dear Susan, yes we are safe which I have realised is a relative term . although we lost other buildings shed tools toilet etc etc we are grateful to still have our home intact. gratitude grief so many emotions at play to integrate and wend through. A reminder indeed of impermanence. xx

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