Painting by Chip Ghigna
Acrylic on canvas, 36" x 40"

Trees on Fire

The trees have held their tongues too long
tonight they sing a dying song
crackle hiss sizzle pop
ashes soaring to the top
yellow red orange cry
confessing secrets to the sky

rings of trees
rings of fire
rings of flame
roaring higher

past the mast
of sailing clouds
past the echoed
pine of crowds

past the last
whisp of pine
hear them whistle
hear them whine

©Charles Ghigna


  1. This is so beautiful and so sad...all at the same time. Exactly like life. What a wonderful thing it must be to collaborate with your son. I will think of this poem and painting every time I read about a forest fire now...

  2. Continue to love these art/poetry pairings. Thanks for sharing. My heart goes out to folks in the paths of those fires out West.

  3. I love this Chip piece SO MUCH. Y'all should send us one of these pairs for submission to Birmingham Arts Journal. Would love to see it... thanks for sharing.

  4. The work by you both is lovely, and this time heartbreaking, Charles. We have two fires going right now in the mountains of Colorado. One has already destroyed almost 200 homes, the most ever in any fire here. They say they might not finish with it until the fall. This makes your post today even more poignant. I like that your poem seems 'driving', has a fast rhythm that doesn't stop, just like the fires.

  5. Wonderful painting! This poem captures so well the frenzy of a forest fire, bringing it close to home by personalizing the trees. Powerful.


  6. Love that "pine of crowds." we have longleaf pine forests here in the Southeast. It is an endangered habitat that can only be preserved by controlled burning. It feels so strange to be grateful for fire in the forest, but those pines and the gopher tortoisees don't survive without it.

  7. Thank you, Amy, for hosting today's Poetry Friday, and to you all for taking the time to comment here!

  8. Wow. The trees holding their tongues too long seems exactly right. And the way the poem speeds up with the fire also seems just right.

  9. Thanks, Liz! I look forward to reading your walking poems.

  10. This poem strikes way too close to home, as I am watching fires destroy huge chunks of forest, and thinking about all of the people and animals that have been displaced the last two weeks in Colorado…

  11. "The trees have held their tongues too long
    tonight they sing a dying song"

    What lovely opening lines, and not necessarily full of disaster, though it's always sad to lose trees. Wish I'd written those!

  12. Thanks, Carol. I share in your concern.
    May Colorado soon find its phoenix.

    Heidi, thanks for your kind comment.
    When I read your poems I often say the same thing. "Wish I'd written those!" ;-)