Fires Bright and Clear


| 12/5/2017 2:08:00 PM


Leslie C. McManus

Perhaps a year ago, a reader shared this poem with me. Unfortunately, the sender’s name is adrift somewhere in the controlled chaos that surrounds my desk. I am unable to thank the sender personally, but I remain grateful for the introduction to a charming verse.

Anyone who’s ever fed a wood stove on a regular basis is well aware of the homespun wisdom of the old saying, “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.” But there is also wisdom in this poem. If you’ve ever depended on a fire for heat, you know that seasoned wood burns better than green, and hardwoods mix well with soft, and hedge produces a spectacular (if potentially dangerous) fireworks display. Probably you know of the appeal of fruit-woods – but did you know about the unattractive traits of elm, poplar and elder?

The Firewood Poem

Beechwood fires are bright and clear

if the logs are kept a year.



Chestnut’s only good, they say,



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