Wake: Up to Poetry
Poem of the Week: “Kincade Fire” by Sara Berkeley
Sara Berkeley is highly attuned to the modern impacts of climate change, noting with precision the human causes. Yet she never strays too far towards deep melancholy; there is a golden edge of hope held around all of her poems, as in “Kincade Fire.” Driving home the importance of humanity and kindness is essential to her work as a poet and hospice nurse alike. As if driving down a winding coastal road, meticulous and beautiful, Berkeley’s language is impressively tight, evocative, and full of perfectly surprising connections.
How little we know of any hour beyond this hour,
the backdrop to everything is joy,
the backdrop to everything is horror.
Wind shakes the redwood rain free of the trees,
a natural stripping down of the leaves,
a natural catastrophic fanning of the flames.
There is no limit to the elements of art:
lead earth oil straw seeds
etched polished glass paper pins hand wrought
copper gold paint, these are the things
we wrap around ourselves when we are hurt,
the backdrop to everything is love,
the backdrop to everything is fear,
three color sugar lift and photogravure,
everything we’ll ever need is here,
steel plaster wedding dress razor wire,
how little we know of any hour beyond this hour,
the absolution of every forest is fire.