How Fragile Is Life!

California fires
Image from ABC News

Today my heart goes out to those
Who look up, beady-eyed, at the skyline
Ferociously licking the infernos
Which were once their homes
Ensconcing all their dreams!

When you have moments to decide
To leave behind precious possessions
When you see
Everything going up in smoke
In moments of melancholy,

When you watch helplessly
Mother Nature wreaking havoc
Holding your heart in smithereens
You think of those who couldn’t make it
Reduced to bones and ashes within seconds.

Is it the wrath of Mother Nature?
Is it man made catastrophe?
Questions blaze with the flames
Answers would never calm down
The turbulence within their hearts.
© Balroop Singh (Oct. 2017)

This poem tries to capture the emotions and grim reality of last week’s wildfires in Northern California.

About 3,500 homes and businesses have been completely destroyed…reduced to ashes in the wildfires that broke out mainly north of San Francisco on last Sunday. The biggest blaze, called the Tubbs Fire, grew overnight in Napa County (famous for its wines) by 6,000 acres to 34,270 acres. It was only 10% contained on Thursday.

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23 thoughts on “How Fragile Is Life!

  1. Indeed life is fragile… a blogger friend has fortunately made it and is safe, out of the danger area. They are not sure what the future holds for them… it’s devastating and we pray for their safety and also help for many others, Balroop.

  2. Oh Balroop, this is so beautifully and passionately written. You bring to the fore all the trauma,
    from choosing some objects to save of a life home to those “reduced to ash and bone”.
    Those who survive but loose all they owned will learn that life is worth so much more. Those who lose family and friends will forever have a deep wound in their hearts. I have no idea how I would cope.
    Thank you for this tribute.

  3. Sad to hear what’s happening in the north of San Francisco. Life is indeed fragile and nature can be so unpredictable. One day it might be a great day and the next day and for the next few moments to come might be the most challenging time of our lives. As delphini510 said, those who survived will probably learn to be very thankful and more appreciative than ever for what they have. Sometimes it takes encounters like these to put things into perspective and what’s truly important to us. ‘holding your heart in smithereens’ – such a haunting line, one of despair and one of hope at the same time.

    Thank you for another bold, emotional poem, Balroop. My thoughts go out to those in need. Take care.

  4. Great words..
    I feel natural catastrophe have always been part of life on Earth. Probably, humans have exacerbated it. Diffiuclt to answer…but I’m completely convinced that humans are the most destructive “animal” on this planet and responsible for wiping out so many species of flora and fauna. And there’s no stopping..even now!

  5. Balroop, heartstopping poem capturing heartstopping horror of these fires. I have seen many posts about this tragedy but yours has me in tears with its emotional impact. Your words echo my thoughts but in its forceful poetic way. How do you decide what to take? How do people feel returning to nothing, just ash? Your words at times are brutal; bringing home to us all the impact of the destruction.

    ‘Holding your heart in smithereens
    You think of those who couldn’t make it
    Reduced to bones and ashes within seconds.’

    Prayers and thoughts for everyone affected.
    Do you live near any of these areas? Have they come close to everyone at some stage by now? Be safe, Balroop. xx

    1. We live just within 60 miles of this area and having visited Napa wineries many times, I could feel the pain all the more. Smoke has been around us for almost a week now, with warnings of very unhealthy air that we have been breathing. Thanks for your prayers and wishes dear friend.

  6. You capture the turbulence in this poem with your powerful poem, Balroop. This line “Ferociously licking the infernos” shows the torturous elements that Mother Nature can send us. I am sending prayers to all who are hurting xx

  7. You’ve captured the essence of despair, loss and decision all wrapped in one B. I’ve seen these fires on the news and it breaks my heart and made me too wonder, – what would I do? What would I leave with? In the end, I know those that fleed are just grateful to have their lives. ❤

  8. Such a heartfelt poem for the terrible tragedies happening in California, Balroop. I always thought fires like these were escapable, that people could get out before being consumed. Clearly that’s not the case. You capture the shock and despair that everyone feels who sees these images and can only imagine the loss.

  9. My sister lived for a week in her trailor with her dog and cat. She finally just got to return home. All was OK but not so much for some of her neighbors. What a horror those fires were.

  10. Good questions, Balroop. I tend to see these ‘natural’ catastrophes as a warning from the Spirit and Mother Nature. Slow Down. Stop and Think, Smell, Reason, Care, Give, Love.
    I have many friends who have been affected by the fires. They are thankful to be alive, and talk over and over again about the kindness of everyone around them, helping, bringing food, clothes, shelter. I hope Mother Nature/the Spirit is watching. xo

    1. I appreciate your wise answers Pam. I wish fortitude to all your friends who have to rebuild life and neighborhood but live with those horrid memories.

  11. Such a profound post!!!

    Something fundamentally wrong with the way human is engaging with nature, the nature’s fury whether the hurricane last month or this fire, signals are imminent of things to come if we continue to take our nature for granted. Quite evident we doing so without any recourse to change. My heart goes to the people living there across the line of raging fire and those who have unfortunately lost everything, and many who lost their near and dear ones. Life is so vulnerable and we are living on the edge and these beautiful thought of yours encapsulates the essence of true engagement between the humans being and the nature. Indeed lot of questions get raised with the blames without any answers and more importantly, whom do we blame, we have to take accountability and take actions that can make the changes that are imperative to arrest such catastrophic consequences in the future.

    Wishing you Balroop a wonderful Diwali, let it be the harbinger of more joy and prosperity!!!

  12. Dear Balroop, such an emotional poem my friend, And yes it brings home to us just how fragile life is.. All held within the balance that within the blink of an eye all can change..
    I too watched in dismay and heartache those who lost everything and worst those who lost their loved ones and their lives..
    Not only do we see the human cost, but the animals too trapped and caught up who perished..
    A heartfelt poem dear Balroop.. one that touched me deeply..
    Love and Blessings my dear friend as I send my prayers to all concerned.. ❤

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