surviving the devil – a song of fire

Poem #1 from the ‘Surviving the Devil’ collection (unpublished)

oh my darling
the devil is in the wind
swallowing sound
with every tongue
that licks to taste
the grass and trees

it speaks to you
my darling

we could really only watch

it came down the hill
on both sides
and from behind us

four ways at once

the embers
were like an uzi
firing through every crack
skylights in the ceiling
if you were putting them out
at the top of the door
they swarmed in at the bottom
it was like a live thing

if we stayed in the house
another thirty seconds
we were dead

if we got in the car to drive away
we were dead

we could only back the sedan
onto burnt ground
sit in it
and watch our home burn down

it took just a few seconds

I couldn’t breathe
I just couldn’t breathe
we both had damp cloths
over our mouths
but I just
couldn’t breathe
even now
I’m coughing up black

my darling
there is sorrow on this ground

the devil’s kiss is a thirst
that can’t be quenched

and the taste in your mouth
is ash and foul
a love affair to the death

oh my darling
the world is different now
from when he first began

I’m telling you my truck didn’t burn
it melted

it just
bloody well

there’s some midi files
a pair of socks
and some underpants
my camera
and the budgerigar
that’s all I had time to grab
the rest’s gone
I hope the cat’s ok

my horses
I need to go back in to save my horses

are you going to stop me
from going to them
they need me

are you trying to make me lose EVERYTHING


somebody lit it
on purpose
what do you do to someone like that
what on earth
do you do

this is the devil’s stamping ground

it’s turned into a moonscape
in the space of three hours

this is where he sings
songs of desecration

it’s going to take
probably a couple of generations
for it to grow back

his sickling ground
to corrupt
with gouts of loathing

I’m not sure if this place
our home
for over twenty-five years
can ever feel the same for us

come away with me
my darling
come away
there’s fire in the red sun’s eye

I think we’ve had enough
of living
in the wonderful Australian bush

there’s nothing left
where the devil-wind
has blown

© Frank Prem 2010
To Poem #2: twisty twirling

17 thoughts on “surviving the devil – a song of fire

  1. Brutal! But honest and real …. this poem ebbs and dances, flickers and flames, capturing the tensions, the anticipation, the hope that maybe …. but no, the shock, the denial, the surreal reality of the aftermath …. really well written and yes, I would say respectful too.

    Liked by 1 person

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