Friday, May 6, 2016

Insomnia About Alberta

I can't even imagine the nightmare happening in Canada right now. Watching the news last night made me so upset I began smelling smoke and started to cough, way down here in California. No, I wasn't actually hallucinating but I'll admit to being sensitive. One reporter called it 'literally hell on earth' and since I figured he might not know what hell is really like, his account was the only one sounding hopeful. This morning, I wrote this poem and while I also know that my loss of sleep means nothing to the poor souls who are losing everything right now, I hope they know we have them in our hearts. And for those who want to donate here's a link. All Red Cross Donations are being matched by the government of Canada. 

Insomnia in California about Alberta

The heat rose--started in my toes--
wrapped around my collar--suffocating my nose.
And distant tears
can’t appreciate real fears
but my coughing wouldn’t stop.
I grabbed a bucket and mop
my personal menace
an emotional apprentice.
I had to work it out.
and now  I’m writing about...
flames that look like Hell.
Cinders that smell,
ash from fifty feet
landing on dry peat,
homes and cars
churches and bars.
People—masses of them-- drive somewhere--
anywhere but there.
Away from home--
a melancholy poem.
Shelter they seek--
the young and the weak.
Their agony and loss
in my head while I floss.
We crawl under cover.
Two guilty lovers
safe behind the news
till our coffee brews....
And my mind stirs
as the smoke swirls--
destruction spraying--

while I’m praying.

Has this happened to you too? Have factual television newscasts made you lose sleep?


  1. Your poem is beautiful Eve, although I’m not sure beautiful is quite the right word.
    I’m so very sad, for the people, the animals and the place. It is beyond awful.
    I lost sleep last year when the Somerset levels started to flood, we live in Somerset, and I was sure the water would reach us. It did but only in the garden, and nothing was harmed. The flooding in England was nothing compared to the fires in Australia. Our son was working at Adelaide airport watching the smoke and flames getting closer while our daughter in law was at home packing, in case they had to get out. Terry and I sat up listening to the Adelaide Fire Service radios and watching the fire maps – it was terrifying especially being so far away and unable to help. In the end, they were lucky but dozens of people lost their homes. Awful.

  2. My insomnia doesn't seem to be caused by thinking. But I know what you mean about reacting to this awful news. I can smell the smoke, feel the heat of the wild fire. I heard on the radio that the winds are a big problem, the fire fighters can't fight the fire at ground level. They can only use planes to try to douse it.

  3. One of the players for the St. Louis Blues is from that area, and the team has been fundraising for the people still living there.

    TV news goes too far. Our local newscasts total 5-6 hours a day, as if everyone wants nonstop news. It's depressing.

  4. Beautifully written. I know forest fire smoke can range over a vast area- last year there was a fire out west that was affecting our sunsets.

    I have not been in that part of Alberta- it's in the northeast part of the province. But all those people whose lives are now in upheaval... it's terrible to see what's happening, but we as Canadians will see them through.

    On another post a day or two ago, a comment came from a man whose son was killed last year in a plane crash up in Alberta while he was fighting a forest fire. He said that if his son had been alive, he'd be involved right now in fighting this one.

  5. Wonderful poem. These forest fires - so scary.