Dorothea Mackellar

(1 July 1885 – 14 January 1968 / Sydney)

Burning Off


They're burning off at the Rampadells,
The tawny flames uprise,
With greedy licking around the trees;
The fierce breath sears our eyes.

From cores already grown furnace-hot -
The logs are well alight!
We fling more wood where the flameless heart
Is throbbing red and white.

The fire bites deep in that beating heart,
The creamy smoke-wreaths ooze
From cracks and knot-holes along the trunk
To melt in greys and blues.

The young horned moon has gone from the sky,
And night has settled down;
A red glare shows from the Rampadells,
Grim as a burning town.

Full seven fathoms above the rest
A tree stands, great and old,
A red-hot column whence fly the sparks,
One ceaseless shower of gold.

All hail the king of the fire before
He sway and crack and crash
To earth - for surely tomorrow's sun
Will see him white fine ash.

The king in his robe of falling stars,
No trace shall leave behind,
And where he stood with his silent court,
The wheat shall bow to the wind.

Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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