evidence to the commission of enquiry #7 next time

Back to: Surviving the Devil: A Song of Fire
Poem #35 from the ‘Surviving the Devil’ collection (unpublished)

we prepared meticulously for months
ahead of the hot season
cleared away any fuel and cut the grass

made sure there were no trees
too close to the house

we were ready

when the fire-rating came across
on the warning system
I knew it was going to be bad
but figured the rating had to be wrong
because back in the Ash Wednesday fires
which was a shocking set of fires
the rating only hit in the sixties
and on this day
it was hitting a hundred and sixty-five

we were ready
but my wife was so worried about it
that she rang everyone around us
all the young families
to tell them they should go

I think a few lives were saved because of that

we first saw a bit of smoke off in the distance
and then black embers started to drop

my wife went to put out a spot fire
but the soles on her shoes melted
when she jumped on the flames

we retreated to the house
but around then the power failed

I shot out to the shed
to start the pump
but the petrol was all gone


the wind changed and I got burned

we ran from the house
and it went up right behind us

we thought we were pretty right
to fight the fire that day
but every time I look down
at the bandages on my arms
and the distorted face I see in the mirror
I tell myself
we need to do it better
next time

© Frank Prem, 2010

To Poem #36: evidence to the commission of enquiry
#8 all in the ark for awhile

3 thoughts on “evidence to the commission of enquiry #7 next time

  1. These are harrowing accounts and well transcribed and interpreted and what always gets me is the ongoing threat in the frequency and likelihood of such a thing happening. Your ending of ‘do better next time’ really made me shudder. Next time…

    Liked by 1 person

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