Our ancestors grew up with this poem, brought over from their English ancestors. They needed to know which wood created what kind of fire—which was best to bake with, which was best to start fires with. In our normal lives in 2012, we do not need this information, and so, have lost both the poem and their knowledge of the woods.
Beech-wood fires burn bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year;
Store your beech for Christmastide
With new-cut holly laid beside;
Chestnut's only good, they say,
If for years 'tis stored away;
Birch and fir-wood burn too fast
Blaze too bright and do not last;
Flames from larch will shoot up high,
Dangerously the sparks will fly;
But ash-wood green and ash-wood brown
Are fit for a Queen with a golden crown.
Oaken logs, if dry and old,Keep away the winter's cold;
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke;
Elm-wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold;
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread -
So it is in Ireland said;
Apple-wood will scent the room,
Pear-wood smells like flowers in bloom;
But ash-wood wet and ash-wood dry
A King may warm his slippers by.