Pine beetle art

Beetles get beneath the skins of conifers leaving mountainsides of standing dead. Kindling for the next heated debate. We haven’t had fireworks (or something to unitedly celebrate) for years and now it hurts to breathe the dry, crackling air. Nose bleeds before breakfast.

Who craves this combustible atmosphere, rumors for paramours and oracular paths beneath barkskins? The wild grass is bleached before June and everyone is swayed in the winds. Sharpened filigrees of justifications out the mouths of the all dried out, heartwood to pith, for why it is good to have caged babes in the hazy periphery. “There are not enough drops of rain to quench us all.” Coveting love as if it were limited.

But it is engulfing thinking like this that creates the arid climate of their demise.

A spark of fear spreads
Brittle twigs snap in flame’s hiss
Conscience up in smoke


©2018, Amaya Engleking

For the dVerse haibun prompt, Jilly asks us to look at seasons in an unconventional way.



  1. peterfrankiswrites · June 24

    Lovely clever piece Amaya.

  2. divinelove777 · June 24


  3. qbit · June 24


  4. daninmaya · June 25

    Clicking on Like seems so inadequate – coveting love as though it were limited!

  5. jillys2016 · June 25

    Brilliantly crafted – such imagery!

  6. Love the parallel between the bushfire season and the caustic actions of men… I hope that rain will come soon.

  7. Carol J Forrester · June 25

    Fantastic parallel between the heat scorched ground and emotions between a population. The grass is burning off all around her with the heat at the moment and I could practically smell the smoke reading this.

  8. rothpoetry · June 25

    Turning into the Saraha is a process often brought on by, as you say lack of conscience, in the choices we crave and make, leaving us dry and parched and burned out! Well done Amaya.

  9. lillian · June 25

    Well…..I guess this hit a very different meaning for me. It reminded me of the horrific separating of children from parents at our borders….the desert of inhumanity….the way conscience went up in smoke for some who ascribed to these actions.
    I guess that’s the thing with writing….the reader takes the words and turns them over in his or her mind and relates to them in a personal way……..not necessarily the way the writer intended. But in my mind, that’s okay.

    • Gospel Isosceles · June 25

      Lillian that’s exactly what was on my mind too, from the desert of inhumanity to the conscience up in smoke. I appreciate your comment as I know the role of interpretation of art, but in this case, we were on the same page.

  10. V.J. Knutson · June 25

    Love this – the way the piece opens with insects getting “under the skin” and then “Kindling for the next heated debate.” The drought and threat of danger is far-reaching. Well done.

  11. Frank Hubeny · June 25

    Nice sentence: “Kindling for the next heated debate” and the conscience going up in smoke.

  12. Vivian Zems · June 25

    I love the metaphors you use to describe this urgent issue. Flawed reasoning will always lead to disaster. Well penned!

  13. Grace · June 25

    The metaphor is not lost on me…I felt the edge and crackle of bush fire, flaming everything on sight ~ Also, I have seen the devastating effect of those beetles on the forest trees – leaving the area arid and grey ~ Well done Amaya ~

  14. Sascha Darlington · June 25

    Beautiful writing, Amaya.

  15. Lona Gynt · June 25

    If we do this thing in a green tree, what will we do in a dry…? Thank you Amaya, hang on and vote.

  16. kim881 · June 26

    You got me with the opening sentence, Amaya, with the beetles getting beneath the skins of conifers. And then I read on and found myself following cleverly woven threads of nature, politics and other kinds of heat. I was particularly taken by ‘Sharpened filigrees of justifications out the mouths of the all dried out, heartwood to pith, for why it is good to have caged babes in the hazy periphery’ and the amazing haiku.

  17. Frank J. Tassone · June 26

    A profound extented metaphor, Amaya. And prophetic, as usual! Love the evocative imagery you use to shape it, too!

  18. Victoria C. Slotto · June 26

    This is an amazing work of word-painting, each word full of double meaning. Brava!

  19. qbit · June 27

    Terrific. The narrative was tight and full of movement. “this combustible atmosphere, rumors for paramours and oracular paths beneath barkskins” was great.

  20. memadtwo · June 27

    a spark of fear…you can feel it in your words (K)

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