Ashes – A Poem

Photo by Andy LeSavage

I grab the damp sponge to wipe up the black soot that has blown in on my window sills
I stop in mid-reach
Whose lives have arrived with the thick smoke from 50 miles away

This fine dust
Made of the ordinary and the treasured heirloom
Tomorrow’s to-do list
An aged letter from an ancestor
The walls of a home
A favorite book
A favorite person suddenly cremated at 1 a.m.

I close the windows to minimize the smoke creeping into the house
I stare again at the ash and put down the sponge
Instead I wipe away tears for the thousands of neighbors who have arrived in the wind

Donations to help the Sonoma County community recover from the fires can be made through North Bay Fire Relief, a partnership of Redwood Credit Union and the Press Democrat, or through the Resilience Fund of Community Foundation Sonoma County.


  1. This is powerful and moving, Beverly! It needs to be shared. I wonder if you would allow me to post your poem on my Facebook wall, credited to you of course, and include the info on where to donate. I have more than 300 FB “friends” so it will get wide exposure.

    Hugs, Cristina

    • Yes, Cristina, you–and all my readers–are always welcome to share any of my posts. Please include the link to my blog. Thank you for your kindness and for spreading the word about how people can help. Hugs back to you!

  2. What a meaningful and lovely poem! It captures the mixture of sound and smell and vision and texture that crosses distance when we are near but yet somewhat physically distant from a catastrophe through your recognition of the dust blowing onto your windowsill. Thanks for sharing it. And thanks for supplying the links so we can take some action to try to help, even in a small way. I am making a contribution to both groups.

  3. Beverly, this is so moving! While reading this, I also realized that while I reached out to so many whose families were affected by the fires, I have still missed many. A big hug to you!

  4. Dear Beverly – your mom sent me your poem and your blog info. I have read your poem several times and love it! You are a poet at heart so I (all of us!) am hoping to read more. I am particularly appreciative of poetry because I’ve never been able to write poetry and greatly admire those that can. It is a wonderful gift. It has been many years since we last saw each other, but your mom has kept me up to-date with your adventures. Be well and stay in touch. Hugs, James

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