Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fire on the Mountain

I’m headed for a writers’ conference this morning and taking some of my work to study. Full of self-doubt, full of hope, full of happiness for the pleasure of learning, I feel great rising early to examine the power of the written word today.

One night this past summer, as fire burned in the mountains above Santa Barbara, my husband and I drove past the site, and I was awestruck by the power of the flames. It occurred to me that my reaction should have been horror, if I were thinking of others defeated, smoke-tired, trapped in a deadly natural disaster.
I came home and wrote about that uncomfortable juxtaposition.

Fire on the Mountain

that flaming orange flower
blooming high up there
under the blue-black sky

From your place of safety
down here on the flat
that flickering blossom
thrills you
like an exotic woman
running her tongue
around your lips

It is so stunning
you could stand and watch
all night, a moth
for whom the flame
is the sacred
needed thing

You almost forget
the screaming horses
the dogs who cannot run
fast enough
the cat crouching
in a corner of the house
hissing at the inferno

Chris Alba © 2009
Photo by CBC News


lakeviewer said...

Interesting poem, great juxtaposition, guilt and exhilaration. What Writers' Conference are you attending?

Susie Hemingway said...

Oh I did enjoy this poem, such descriptive words,I felt the strength of the blaze and the wonder of it too! Then you cleverly brought the reality back to the reader, Thank you.

Susie Hemingway said...

Many Many Congratulations Chris on your award for the above poem, how simply wonderful but so deserved with this exciting Poem
Susie Hemingway (UK)

the walking man said...

Lakeviwer took the words right out of my mind. Great juxtaposition.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

This is a brilliant poem in it's simplicity and descriptions. Thank you...


Dulce said...

Weird how a poem on such topic can depict reality as's inferno, it's's cruel, it's fine (?)

Karen said...

Fire is such a great image to illustrate the dual nature of many things of this world - attractive and deadly. Great description, Chris.

Have a productive time at your writer's workshop!

Lou said...

I'm thinking of the total helplessness one must feel against the might of a raging fire. Great description!

Monkey Man said...

Hypnotic - both the scenario and your poem. Wow.

enchantedoak said...

You need to know that my gratitude runs deep for all of you and your kindness. May you all be blessed today, tomorrow, forever.

Steve E. said...

Yes, a prize winner--FIRST prize, no less. Thank you for publishing it here.
PEACE, dear Lady.

Syd said...

Chris, this poem is so descriptive of the terror from fire. It could also describe so many things that terrify and create fear.