Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Cremation of Beauty

My father was 16
in August of '33
Rode in an open-back
cattle truck
with friends from school
to dig fire-break trenches
at the Tillamook Burn
350 thousand acres
of old-growth gone
in a month
The ghosts and skeletons were visible
in my own youth
as we drove to the beach
in the summer
Now the Gorge
a kid, a firecracker
friends from school
the same powder-keg conditions
a weapon of mass destruction
The land will heal
but not in the years
I have left
So glad I looked
on each drive up and back
worshipped the green cathedrals
as my friend Mary called them
Now grieving the forest homeless
the countless beings lost
to human foolishness
Aching for the beauty
gone up in smoke

1 comment:

Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer said...

A beautiful tribute to loss, and an astute observation on the cycle of mistakes endlessly made over and over for the first time. I have been thinking about the Tillamook Burn, and how on the way to fun family vacations, we would travel through its blackened wastelands, silent and hurting. It grew back. It took a long time.