Thursday, March 8, 2012

Trees-- A Poem

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.

 Birch Trees

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.

 Chestnut Tree

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.


Hawthorn Tree


Mom/CB said...

Great!! In our vastly expanded world we have lost so much from yesterday! Grandma and Grandpa Taylor could each recite reams of poetry fom their school days! I can remember some but doubt the kids today have time for that!!
Thanks, Pat, for keeping us in tune!!

Sue Kinsella said...

What a find! I had no idea that different kinds of wood burn so differently. Around here, a common kind of firewood is almond, from old orchards that are no longer productive.

Pat said...

Wow! I never heard of almond wood. Would love to smell the smoke from that fire.

But, isn't it Uncle Harold who loves to find cherry wood?


Tom K. said...

I dispute the assessment of elm as a poor-burning fire wood:

Elm-wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold;

As a young whipper-snapper I split at least a couple of face cords of slippery elm, and once cured, it burned well enough. At least that's my memory of winter evenings in Canada, with large chunks thawing by the fire, destined to be thrown in next.