Fire and Earth


Stripped of beauty

on denuded hillsides

they stand


bare arms reaching towards

unheeding smudged skies.


Just yesterday blue spruce

fluttered supple eyelashes at wooing birds

rustling Douglas fir sang a resonant summer chorus

while variegated wild fruit hid in

clumps of foliage that dotted

Trinity Shasta’s sacred forest landscape.


Mercurial fire

healer and destroyer

knows no favorites.

It slays suddenly     without mercy

smiting old and young

turning rainbow hues into charcoal.


Earth patiently weaves new garments

a bride designing her trousseau

silk and taffeta for the night

light cottons for the spring days ahead

while the sun bursts juvenile seed,

gleaming jewels for her hair

that will grow

to shade the earth again.


The Hirz and Delta wildfires burned vast areas of California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest in the summer of 2018.


Poem and Photo by Deenaz P. Coachbuilder, Ph. D.

Deenaz is of the Zoroastrian faith. Fire is seen as the supreme symbol of purity and goodness, and sacred fires are maintained in Agiaries (Fire Temples). These fires represent the light of God (Ahura Mazda) as well as the illuminated mind. It is also the symbol of the cosmic fire of creation, a fire that continues to pervade every element of creation, an essential element for sustaining life. Though forest fires can, and are destructive, they are also the source of rejuvination, bursting dormant seedlings into new life. Deenaz is a writer, photographer and artist who uses oil on canvas as her medium. She is the author of two books of poetry, “Imperfect Fragments ” and “Metal Horse and Shadows: A soul’s Journey” and a prior contributor to Tiny Seed Journal. Deenaz is a retired educator, environmental advocate, mother, wife and adoring grandmother.