Trees and Burning Wood



Hi Everyone

As you know I am very busy with my MA Dissertation but today I have a small lull. My essay is just about there and I am seeing my supervisor on Monday to get a bit of feedback on some of my creative work. I’m hoping he won’t have much he wants altered because time is running out. I need to submit a hard bound copy as well as the electronic submission which means I must have this sorted earlier enough to go to the printers to be printed and bound. I’m looking at Wednesday 19th September as my deadline.

As I have a small window today, I decided I should do a blog about trees and firewood. What brought about this? Well when I was in Swanwick, I met a lovely lady, Liz Byfield, who happens to be a fellow tree lady. This was discovered when I read out one of my poems about two well known trees, Gog and Magog, in the Open Mic. She hadn’t realised that Gog had been burnt down last year. It was so lovely to hear from someone that knew my trees in the poem. Unfortunately I can’t share the poem with you at this stage because it’s part of my MA poetry portfolio.

We went on to talk a lot about trees and Liz shared some of her tree poetry with me too. She’s a great poet and I hope that maybe she’ll come on the blog as my guest in the next few months. She asked me if I knew the poem about how different woods burn. I didn’t. This morning in my inbox she popped up in an email telling me the name of the poem and who wrote it. I googled it and managed to find the poem and thought I would share it with you.

Personally I’d rather see trees standing tall where I can lose myself and become inspired rather than chopped up for fire, but I do like to watch and listen to a crackling fire too. The Firewood Poem written by Lady Celia Congreve and published in The Times in March 1930 is a great poem with good rhythm and imagery. I particularly like the lines ‘Is fit for a queen with golden crown’ and ‘A King shall warm his slippers by.’ Let me know what you think.

The poem and information was found here

The Firewood Poem


These hardwoods burn well and slowly,
Ash, beech, hawthorn oak and holly.
Softwoods flare up quick and fine,
Birch, fir, hazel, larch and pine.
Elm and willow you’ll regret,
Chestnut green and sycamore wet.

Beechwood fires are bright and clear,
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut’s only good, they say,
If for long ’tis laid away.
But Ash new or Ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold.

Birch and fir logs bum too fast,
Blaze up bright and do not last.
It is by the Irish said,
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood bums like churchyard mould,
E’en the very flames are cold.
But Ash green or Ash brown,
Is fit for a queen with golden crown.

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room,
With an incense like perfume.
Oaken logs if dry and old,
Keep away the winter’s cold.
But Ash wet or Ash dry,
A king shall warm his slippers by.

Oak logs will warm you well,
That are old and dry.
Logs of pine will sweetly smell,
But the sparks will fly.
Birch logs will burn too fast,
Chestnut scarce at all sir.
Hawthorn logs are good to last,
That are cut well in the fall sir

Holly logs will burn like wax,
You could burn them green.
Elm logs burn like smouldering flax,
With no flame to be seen.
Beech logs for winter time,
Yew logs as well sir.
Green elder logs it is a crime,
For any man to sell sir.

Pear logs and apple logs,
They will scent your room.
And cherry logs across the dogs,
They smell like flowers of broom.
But Ash logs smooth and grey,
Buy them green or old, sir.
And buy up all that come your way,
They’re worth their weight in gold sir.

Logs to Burn, Logs to burn, Logs to burn,
Logs to save the coal a turn.
Here’s a word to make you wise,
When you hear the woodman’s cries.
Never heed his usual tale,
That he has good logs for sale.
But read these lines and really learn,
The proper kind of logs to burn.

Lady Celia Congreve

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