After the Fire

Look down, look down,  
Eyes on the ground.
The flowing stream,
the Sun’s bright gleam,
All’s well –
So it would seem.
Look down, look down,  
Eyes on the ground.
Green mosses thrive,
Bright flowers bloom.
All’s well –
No sign of doom.
Look high, look high,  
Up toward the sky
At dark-scorched trees
Whose blackened trunks
Will soon fall in
To broken stumps.
Look high, look high,  
Up toward the sky
At branches bare
In summer air
Scant signs of green
To be found there.
Up toward the sky  
Dead sentinel trees
Wave ravaged corpses
In the breeze,
While on the ground
New verdant growth
Obscures the signs
Of fire and smoke.
Look down, look down 
Where water flows.
The promise of
Renewal grows.
Look high, look high
And ask how long
‘Til living branches
Host birdsong?

Written July 2019, after a visit to the section of the Columbia River Gorge which was ravaged by the Eagle Creek fire, two years ago.

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