Sunday, February 7, 2010

A year goes so quickly...

It's been a year since the worst natural disaster to hit Victoria. A lot has changed. The emergency services have realised the warnings were too little too late. New early warning systems have been put in place, but we'll only know how good they are if the worst were to happen...again, and I hope that it never does.

I was worried about friends and family on that weekend. So many fires on so many fronts and even my suburb and the next got their own small dose of the madness. It's important to remember that built up residential areas are still at risk. We Aussies love our bush, and many suburbs keep as much of it as they can. I hope we never become complacent and that tougher penalties - which should include jail time - will be enough to deter the would-be firebugs.

Last year I wrote a poem in response to that harrowing time. I thought I might share it here...

February 2009

the nightly news
has become a morbid fascination
and you’ve never listened
so much to 774 AM
and each night
the nightmare deepens
and the daily papers
show the faces
of the dead
and the living
keep on breathing — thankful
for breath
and survival seems
more and more
a carnival trick
or divine intervention
and you wish
you could be there to help
it’ll get worse
before it gets better
and that nothing you do
could ever be enough
so as night falls
you switch off your
radio, turn off your
TV and settle down to sleep
in your comfortable bed
inside your house — thankful
it’s not you


  1. There was a 2 hour show on this Sunday about the fire (the lead up and aftermath) and it was just too sad for words. I like your poem, especially the ending where we can turn off the t.v, nice and safe. Jail is never a deterrent for individuals who have a pathological fascination with fire and for who lighting fires serves a psychological function. We need prevention program for young people at risk for that type of behaviour. Often arsonists are developmentally delayed or have psychological issues.

  2. Thanks for your comments Gabrielle, & yes it is sad & potentially dangerous for all of us that our governments spend more on pokies than mental illness...Their inclusion policy needs to have more to it than closing the institutions, a lot of these ppl have been left's not good enough.