News :: Music :: Poetry


The Station Fire in the summer of 2009 raged through Jane's rural neighborhood in the
Angeles National Forest. All the homes on her street burned down, except Jane's and her next door
neighbor's. The rain in the following season caused close-call mudslides, but the 1929
cabin and its charm still stand in Big Tujunga.

Saddened and exhilarated by the destruction and recovery of the forest, and granted rare
witness to it, Jane is writing a series of poems as a catharsis for her own survival.



At the bridge near Breakneck
Everything blueblack and salmon
Except magma-colored spires
Of exploding trees on Josephine
He said, silhouetted,
They wonít stop it
And everything changed then


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We got out together
Before it all went down.
We left as the sky
Was churning
Pulling it all to a different day.
I hung everything on hope
And you were ready
To give in
Letting it go slowly
Makes the truth fall
Less hard
But I canít let go at all
I believe Ďtil Iím crushed.
Even as the sky was falling
I thought the wind would blow it
We stopped and looked back
But we couldnít see exactly
What we needed to.
We would only know when
It all cooled down
And even then we stood
Why hope was right this time.

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She came at me
With a hug
I had steeled myself
For a far away look
Of why
The hug
Smashing steel
Her strength
Crushed me

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When the universe reminds us of its power,
through a showing of stars or catastrophes,
we may step out of insignificance
and gaze clearly at the vastness before and beyond.

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When the fire blasted through
We broke all the smoke alarms
To end redundant announcements
We continued raking leaves
As it bit at our throats
And made noon night
I tried to stay focused
Knowing the moment was eternal
But my perception blurred
By heat and darkness
And my own bleeping sense
Ignored eternity
To stay alive

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Desire comes on
Like a hurricane
A forest fire
An earthquake
Fooling ourselves about predictions
We listen for omens
In the cries of dogs
Craving safety
We stockpile all our goods
Just in case
Love comes roaring through


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Like recovery from shattered love
The forest returns after fire.
A striking and boastful presentation
Comes with the first spring.
Blooms distract from the blackness
Of the broken heart beneath
Spreading their color and perfume with ostentation.
Everywhere the eye and nose succumb to the trickery
Of the landscape overcompensating
For the fading ash.
The forest struts its little stuff
While the large glamorous trees stand as shadows
In the near distance, scorched and dead.
The thickness of its health will return
But that is slow.
The wound beneath is large and one spring
Is just a scarf on the bald head of an ailing patient.
So the broken-hearted all sing
A similar loud and thin song
We sing together reminding ourselves
We are here!
We are beautiful!
And, we, too, will someday heal.



The forest is quiet.
I can hear the creek
And some of natureís smaller critters
Shuffling in the crunchy leaves
But man has left this canyon.
His rattle of machines
Barking voices
The clutter of his music
Are gone.
The ruins of the houses
Loom like giant tombstones
And closure signs
And blocking cones
Repeat and repeat
In line like the ghosts
Of soldiers in formation.
When the fire came through
My incidentals vanished
And the ancient called to me.
How fine to only seek water
Or shelter.
Such nonsense then
To worry about taxes or stocks
To watch TV or answer emails.
When there is hunger and the stars!
Tonight in the quiet
I trace the callous
That covers my wound.
This is where the silence breathes
Its ancient breath
Where my heart slips into communion
With the aching Earth.


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all poems by Jane Fontana ©2010