Armageddon Yellow

Every day another fire —
fire-tongues licking thirsty moss
trees turn into black hands, stretching
from below the surface of an ashen sea.

We went picking raspberries the other day
but every fruit had turned to stone
and birch leaves now are Armageddon yellow
the forest trembling for a doomsday flare.

In Greece people had to save themselves
from flames by going into the waves.
Just as life once came from oceans
it might be time for us to merge with mud.

They say the rain will come on Sunday,
Is that a new beginning after afterwards
or just a pause for us to find
the closest path that leads to sea?

Yellow Birch in my garden

The weather is extreme here in Sweden and large areas in Sweden have extensive forest fires. The birches look like it’s already October.
Today it’s Open Link Night at dVerse. Join us at 3 PM EST with any one poem of your own and join the fun.
July 26, 2018

29 responses to “Armageddon Yellow

  1. Heavy duty, brother. Love the /trees that turn into black hands/ I dig your theme too. Nature rules. but man keeps messing with her. Forest fires in CA too; alerts for the dense forests all along our west coast.

  2. We are experiencing wildfires here in Oregon again, too. On our way to Spokane last weekend we could see on burning from the freeway in the Columbia River Gorge. You’ve captured the essence of this season of fires in Sweden well in this. It was a great reminder that being from different parts of the world doesn’t make us all that different after all. We all face the same or similar trials and an escape from them.

  3. It’s like that over here too, Bjorn! I’ve never known crop fires before. Luckily our wilderness garden is still green and our apples are quite big already. I was supposed to be hosting a children’s story walk in the park behind the library tomorrow but we are expecting even higher temperatures so it will be stories in the deepest shade in the park instead. 🙂
    You’ve painted a hot scene with the ‘fire-tongues licking thirsty moss’ and those black tree hands. Our birches haven’t turned Armageddon yellow yet – I hope they don’t. What a phrase to describe the devastation: ‘the forest trembling for a doomsday flare’.

  4. Excellent description:

    “trees turn into black hands, stretching
    from below the surface of an ashen sea.”

    The weather here in L.A. is hot as well and not in a good way. Your poetry I miss so much…and your language is magnificently well expressed. 🙂

  5. “trees turn into black hands, stretching from below the surface of an ashen sea.” This is such a powerful image!

  6. Let us hope the rains will come again and stay a little longer – we had many wildfires here too and the ground stayed very dry after the first showers.

  7. I heard that one of the problems in Sweden is that the old forests have been chopped down to grow commercial timber, no undergrowth and no variety. In Greece they have a problem of deforestation and concreting over the coastline. Man is to blame in all these scenarios. I hope your weather changes on Sunday!

  8. This is my favorite part:
    “fire-tongues licking thirsty moss
    trees turn into black hands”
    … And I love its juxtaposition with the word “raspberries”!

    “the forest trembling for a doomsday flare” … I also really like this line, and the third stanza. I do think there’s a wider reach for the notion of a country having to save itself, not waiting to be saved.

  9. Piercing and real, Bjorn. My sister-in-law in Chaves (Portugal) is expecting 37 degrees celsius (100 degrees farenheit) this coming week, and forest fires abound every summer.

  10. The last stanza – well, now just doesn’t this “hit home” – because it’s more than a simple question upon which we should be reflecting. The world is on fire – erupting from the belly and the air … and as time keeps pace and we are outrun and beaten down by our own ways, the weather, the earth, will keep “compensating” for its own cleansing and healing.
    The images you’ve used, and specific words and notations of what you’re witnessing is more than apt – and very frightening, for the sheer madness in all of this.

  11. kaykuala

    or just a pause for us to find
    the closest path that leads to sea?

    Good question Bjorn! Given the extreme heatwave it might just be an interlude that may signal worse things to come!


  12. not sure I will ever think of yellow again without that adjective – the third verse mixes Genesis with Revelations so poignantly.
    p.s. It is Furnace Friday in London and a blog moving day for me!

  13. I just heard that on the news. We are all experiencing “new” weather. The summer has been hotter than any I remember. And of course there are fires…smoke hangs in the air.

  14. OH, the heat wave is wreaking havoc all over, it seems. After three months of blistering heat, we have seen this last week the skies pouring over the parched earth.
    You words are evocative – the dark hands of shriveled trees, the escape into the waves, paths that lead to the beginning, et al. Quite thrilling and something to reflect on.

  15. Love the title, and the ending, and that line about merging with mud. They say the fires in Greece have been started by someone. I know this is no aha moment for humanity, but once again, I’m stunned by our capacity for destruction.

  16. I hope you get rain soon. I know it’s so hot and dry in many areas of the world, though thankfully it’s still pretty green here, and we had rain last night.

  17. Powerful images, especially “fire-tongues licking thirsty moss”.

    The fires here are near enough to make for a hazy sky. It certainly feels harsher than previous years. Stay safe and take care.

  18. Lots of thirsty areas in the world these days. And yet this past week we drove past waterlogged fields along the Mississippi River in Arkansas.

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