Awash in Smoke – Australian Bushfires

 

SmokePoem

Burnt Bush – Batemans Bay, NSW

Awash in Smoke

in the shock aftermath death knell
on a day hard to happen
a dull blue twist slowly ascends
into the sullen smoke hangover

the stubborn littered ground aglow
as the after-life scrub still smoulders,
like a discarded cigarette butt
menacing cancer

blackened tangled gum trunks
twist fingers into the lost sky
while a dead kangaroo silhouetted
dissolves in the shifting smoke

life stalls in the depressed choke
of the continued fall of dust cladded air

Richard Scutter 9 January 2020

Context –

The current Australian bushfires are unprecedented in their magnitude and destruction. They have been extensive across all States and have destroyed massive areas of bush. And they are still burning at the time of this Post. The current loss is 2,316 homes and over 24 lives coupled with considerable stock loss.

World Wildlife Conservation estimate that 1.25 billion animals have died and of course their habitat decimated. Australia is a very large country and continent and some of the tracks of land involved in the fires are bigger than European countries.

Smoke from these fires has clouded and polluted many towns and cities not directly connected with the destruction and fires. This has been the case in Canberra over the last three weeks. The intensity of the smoke depends on wind direction but on some days Canberra has been the most polluted major city in the world.

The world-wide response to this on-going tragedy has been quite amazing. I give my heartfelt thanks for all this support and to those that have donated to the funding of the recovery effort. Unfortunately the scars are severe and it will take many years for the regrowth to take hold but the bush is resilience and it will recover!

Animal Accident – A personal encounter

Following on from my last Post here is a personal poem in relation to a Kangaroo … not a pleasant experience …

Animal Accident

Empty night road
stars with the moon off centre.
Talking of people met, then
bigger than a Qantas tail plane
highlighted by car light
it was before the windscreen.

Inevitable as judgement day
Tony shouting ‘kangaroo’
the brake screech
rubber hot into the road
and thud!

Shocked stillness.

Dark paddocks alongside
the parked car steaming
and we on centre stage
enter the evening chill.

Inspect the damaged bonnet,
radiator intact and car driveable.

The roo lying in right hand lane
motionless except for a watery eye
alive to our movement.

Dragging the broken body
clearing the road for traffic
streaking her wet internals.

Our car disappears.
The countryside reclaims the night.

The grass verge cradles a dying animal.

There will be no flowers.

© Richard Scutter

This poem was writen several years ago. Thanks to my friend Tony for help in dealing with the situation.

Qantas – Australian airline

Accidents involving kangaroos are common in rural areas of Australia. An organisation called WIRES (Wildlife Injury Rescue Emergency Service) exists to help injured animals.