After the Fires
by Jenni Overend
May moisture fall softly on the tender scorched earth
May a green haze spread amongst the blackened stumps
May bunches of leaves sprout on charred trunks
May small creatures find sheltering hollows left by fire
May birds find food and fill the air with song
May autumn rains gain strength to
fill rivers and moisten wetlands
for frogs and waterbirds
May the earth feel renewed and restored
May human hearts lose their fear
and communities unite
and grow strong
And broken hearts find joy where least expected.
Jenni says: We live in Toolangi which is about 15 minutes drive from Kinglake, a little township devastated by the bushfires of February 7. The wind changed late in the afternoon as the fires were sweeping toward our
township, swinging north, and we were saved. But every time I drive back to Toolangi, I drive through acres of scorched forest. This is what inspired 'After the Fires'.
Jenni Overend is a writer and teacher who lives in the mountains above the Yarra Valley. She writes for adults and children, but her books are for kids. Her most recent book, Stride's Summer, was about a
boy and his pet cockatoo and their experience when a bushfire swept through their home town.
Write your own poem: This kind of poem is known as a litany, where you repeat the same words at the beginning of each line. In earlier times, it was also called a prayer. You can write your own litany about almost anything, but it works best when the repeated words add extra meaning. Some examples of repeating words are: I remember, This time I, This is what it means, Have you ever. Choose a repeating phrase that sings to you, and write your own litany.