evidence to the commission of enquiry #5 left Flowerdale

Back to: Surviving the Devil: A Song of Fire
Poem #33 from the ‘Surviving the Devil’ collection (unpublished)

I was going to stay and fight
it’s always been my plan
that if a fire came I’d be ready

I put sprinklers in the roof
had a ten thousand litre water tank
with a pump primed and right to go

I thought about what I would do
and all-in-all I have to say
I was satisfied

but I changed my mind that afternoon
when I saw what the fire was doing
to the trees
you see I noticed they were twisting around
just about being un-screwed
right out of the ground

I drove away with my lights on full
and my hand stuck down on the horn
as a way of warning

I was petrified


in Flowerdale
we gathered around the pub
and kept an eye on the school

there were spot fires here
and small blazes there
right though the afternoon

at some point they brought in an old man
who’d been burned

they carried him in on a plastic chair
and we laid him down on the floor
used wet towels
to try to take the heat away

while some did that
the rest fought on
and somehow we battled right through
that dark red night


in the morning it was a chainsaw job
to get back up the road
to my home

it was burned down of course
there was bugger-all survived the blaze

walking down the road in front of my block
I saw two bodies beside a burnt-out car
I’ve since found out they were a mother
and her son

another car had crashed into a tree
with another soul lost
and in that moment
it looked to me as if
God had just abandoned Flowerdale
to die

© Frank Prem, 2010

To Poem #34: evidence to the commission of enquiry
#6 communication difficulties

7 thoughts on “evidence to the commission of enquiry #5 left Flowerdale

    • Hi Ali.

      Yes, and this was extraordinary. I had breathed relief when the fires passed and eventually other things arose to think about – life kicked on. Then came the Enquiry and it was like it started all over again. Gruesome, and some haven’t recovered yet.



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