I live in Southern California where all the fires are happening right now.  Yesterday, there was a blanket of ash in the air so thick that it looked like a dense fog.  Some older people had to leave work because they couldn’t breathe properly.  Today, several others have not come into work because they are busy throwing valuables into their cars, in the process of being evacuated from their homes.  The smell of smoke permeates everything, even indoors.

I was amused by a news headline I saw that read Southern California Destroyed By Fire, as if this entire half of the state had been burnt to the ground and there was nobody left.  We are still here, and we’ve actually had much worse fires with much greater damage in the past.

Anyway, in light of all that, I’ve decided to feature two poems today that both contain the word “Fire” in their titles.  The first is called Armies in the Fire by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Here is a portion of the poem:

“Now in the falling of the gloom
The red fire paints the empty room:
And warmly on the roof it looks,
And flickers on the back of books.”

And Hanging Fire by Audre Lorde begins:

“I am fourteen
and my skin has betrayed me
the boy I cannot live without
still sucks his tumb
in secret
how come my knees are
always so ashy
what if I die
before the morning comes
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.”

To see the full text of these poems, follow the links above.