Themed Poetry: California Wildfires

-Vanessa Kiefer (‘20)


What Would You Take

It’s 11:00pm, they have gone to bed

The children are tucked in

Do they know the people have fled?

No- for they are in Northern California

A carefree state

Where all air is the perfect breathe

And the welcoming palm trees sway


But they are awakened

The people of the roses

For the fire’s embers have been lit

Right under their noses

“Get up, we must go!”

They call into the night

As they peer around their humble homes

And wonder what they will leave

Only to be consumed by light:


The family photo album? With

All the stories it holds?

Or maybe the two guitars

With the painted flowers

Embedded in the shiny wood.

A father’s wallet, complete with

His daughter’s first grade photo?

All of mother’s silverware

Personalized from her

Great grandmother.


The fires rage

Fueled by raging winds

So people are forced to wonder

What do they take?


What would you take in the midst of thunder?


In the past two weeks, a plethora of wildfires have been raging across Northern California, forcing residents to evacuate their homes from the threat of incineration. These fires have been continually fueled by California’s naturally dry winds, which help ignite the freshly dried vegetation due to reignition of the state’s drought. On October 14th, evacuations were ordered for areas in northeastern Santa Rosa, a city of about 175,000 people and only 50 miles northeast of San Francisco. The fires started on October 8th and do not show any signs of ceasing in the near future.

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