Untitled January 16, 2017

Posted: January 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

I’m here O’ crimson saint

Down here at the edge of your flaming robe

Feeling the warmth

Breathing in your Majesty

Why do you not look upon me

You turn your head away

Toward your god

As if he does not exist to me

Come closer flaming apparition

For I too have fire in me

Do not be afraid

Harm can not come to one such as I

Impermeable to pain

Insurmountable grief has swirled around

Shrouding me

Showing me that all things turn


Time burns and distorts

Where there was once enchantment

There now lay ashes

Blackening my hands

What burns can not be kept

I’m here O’ crimson saint

Back to where I began

Peeling off what does not fit

Making a bed of what is left

Riding time that is but a surfer’s wave

Breathing in the hot, salty steam

There are many oceans to pour upon me

To tumble me

And take me




The Birth Of Words

Posted: April 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

Swirling around
Until like a storm
They crash and rumble
Bumping into my brain’s heart
Tearing and pushing
Screaming babies in the womb of my mind
Ready to come splashing forth
Through my head
Where they exit
With full breath
To the page
Letter by letter
To tell a tale
That must be told
The birth of words
Is exhausting
Yet invigorating
As all new life
They find their place
And live their lives
Hoping to be read
And understood
And loved

April 6, 2016

Coventry CT






Posted: January 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

For the past couple of months, since the fire and since my daughter bought me paints, brushes and canvases, I’ve been obsessed with learning how to paint waves. When I’m not paining, I go into the Paint program and practice. I look at other paintings, really look and take it all in. Tonight, I painted my very best. It feels great.




Coventry CT



Where There’s Smoke…..

Posted: November 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

It’s been a few weeks now. Weeks and days of the aftermath. The fire.

We have settled into a new routine. A routine of waiting and rearranging ourselves in different places. Fire victims. Displaced, disoriented and dismayed. Waiting to have a home again. Grateful for lives that were not lost, yet grieving for the things that were. Intact, introspective and insightful about yet another experience.

There is much to look back on. It seemed like a normal Friday, that day, the day. October 23rd, 2015. It was a lazy day. I slept late and stayed in my pajamas all day. Relaxing, watching movies and not much else. *Right around 7:30 p.m., I washed some dishes. Little did I know that using the hot water would set off a chain reaction that would ultimately render our home unlivable. Our things unusable. Destroyed or tainted or both.

With the dishes washed, I ate and went to bed. Closing my bedroom door as I always do, little Daisy on my pillow, we settled in for good sleep. So we thought. Around 9 p.m., the smell came seeping through my bedroom door. An acrid smell unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before. Feeling drowsy, I was annoyed that this smell persisted, keeping me from sleep. Arousing myself fully, I got out of bed to investigate the foul, noxious odor.

After opening my bedroom door, I knew something was terribly wrong. The air was wrong. It was thick, so thick I could see it and nothing else. I could taste it and when I breathed it in, it made me cough. Now this wasn’t right. This was so wrong, yet it hadn’t struck me yet exactly how wrong and dangerous it was.

Somehow, I found a phone, finally realizing this new reality, I dialed 911 and bleated out to the operator that my house was on fire. Yes, indeed, my house was on fire. Finding Daisy, I opened the sliding glass door and went outside. I could see smoke bellowing out from the basement. Settling myself in a damp leaf covered deck chair, holding the phone while the 911 operator got help, I waited. During that time, my mind was everywhere. I thought of things inside. My cats. Where were they? I went back in though the smoke and walked back into my bedroom. Grabbing what I thought was most important, my bag of medicine and I think a sweatshirt. Walking back outside, I realized that Daisy had wandered into the house, so back in I went to grab her, then outside into the cold we went and stayed and waited for help.

Sitting there in the cold, damp, leaf covered chair, phone in my hand, 10 minutes had passed since the 911 operated left the line to call the fire departments. I disconnected the call, after hearing sirens, and called my daughter. Three times, no answer. In between the calls, my husband called me and so did my son. We were all on the same page. Our house was on fire. After not being able to call my daughter, I texted her. “My house is in fire”. Just like that. She called back already frightened by the three missed calls from me. I told her what was happening and in a flash they were on their way to me.

The sirens got close and soon, like giant honey bees, they swarmed our property. I was escorted from the cold, damp, leaf covered deck chair to a warm, waiting ambulance. Walking down the driveway to get to the ambulance, I passed fire truck after fire truck, firefighters running around, grabbing hoses, donning equipment necessary to protect themselves. I was horrified and in awe at the same time. I being part of a firefighting family, was only suppose to hear about these scenarios, not be part of them. Fires happen at other people’s homes. Not mine. Not ours.

In the ambulance, I felt safe and cared for. It was a cold night and in my plight, I forgot that I was in a nightgown and not much else. With so much activity all around me, I was encapsulated in a warm ambulance, in the care of two very concerned medical technicians. I refused to go to the hospital. I had not inhaled enough smoke to be sick. My blood pressure was elevated but all things considered, quite appropriate and did not put me in danger of any kind. So I sat and waited.

My daughter and her boyfriend arrived, frantic. They saw that I was okay, Daisy on my lap and were somewhat relieved. The scene around our house was epic and dramatic as any TV show or film about a fire. Having family there was a comfort. Soon, my son arrived and then my husband, both happy that I was safe. I was the only one in the house at the time, except for the animals. Daisy and the cats. I was worried about the cats. Especially a young kitten and his mother, neither of whom I saw get out. I was much more concerned about their welfare than any personal property that being destroyed during those minutes. I kept asking each firefighter I saw if the kitten and its mother were safe. Nobody had an answer. So I continued to worry.

Eventually, the fire was put out. The fire trucks left my driveway, not quite in the hurry in which they arrived. I was escorted back into the house to retrieve something to wear. A fireman with a flashlight and my husband carefully assisted me through the maze that my house had become, into my bedroom, in the dark. Finding a pair of jeans, I put them on. Grabbing into my dresser for whatever my hand touched first. Then I was led through the mess to the kitchen. I grabbed my purse and was assisted back outside. Outside where the air was safe.

The images I saw through that flashlight beam were terrifying. Furniture was all askew, things were on the floor that were not suppose to be on the floor. The house I had just cleaned, dusted and mopped was a disaster. The house I was getting ready for my new grandson to visit was messy beyond anything I could ever clean, dust or mop away. My shabby but comfortable little home had been reduced to a burned, smoky dungeon, habitable by none.

I left in the night with my daughter and her boyfriend and Daisy. They were taking me in and offering me shelter from the mighty storm that swept me out of my home. Still worried about the two cats, we rode in silence. Words interjected here and there, a stop for gas, three people and a dog, ¬†adrenalin wearing off leaving us all stunned. Arriving at my daughter’s house, we settled in for night, again. I smelled of smoke and so did Daisy. The clothing I grabbled, my purse too, smelled of smoke. An invisible reminder of the hideous intrusion that brought me to another’s home in the middle of night.

Sleep was elusive. Sirens echoed in my mind. The memory of opening my bedroom door, walking out into the smoke, that thick, acrid and noxious smoke. The birth of a brand new trauma. I labored and finally fell asleep.

The next day, after a very cleansing shower, my daughter and I went over to my house. Walking in the broken front door, the first thing we saw was the kitten. Then we saw her mother and all four of the other cats. My daughter and I hugged and squealed that they were all safe. They were all alive and unharmed. We hugged and held each other and I said that everything would be okay now because the cats were all safe. A happy moment of relief swept over us and made us not mind so much that house was in shambles. In the light of day, we could see what the fire had left behind and it was not pretty or cozy or comfortable. The cats were safe and that’s all we cared about.

I picked through my dresser again and packed an overnight bag. Two pair of jeans, some night gowns and underwear. A few tops, my makeup, hairdryer and flip flops. That was all I needed. That one full overnight bag, would get through the days ahead. All of the other things could wait, I had just what I needed and no more.

Looking around for a few minutes was all I could do. It was simply too much to take in at once. I knew I couldn’t take all of the cats with me to my daughter’s, so I filled up large bowls with food and water for them. Leaving a door open, so they could go in and out. I didn’t fully realize at that time just how much damage to the house had occurred, nor how long it would be before we could call it home again. I didn’t realize at all what would be involved to put all of the pieces back together. How many companies, how many people, how many tasks and how much time were completely unknown. The days ahead would be filled with information and more information until as much as I needed know, was known. It would be springtime before we could sleep in our own beds, in our own rooms, in our own home. Six months of repairs and reconstruction, cleaning and salvaging and throwing out. Six months of being displaced but hopefully not discouraged because where there’s smoke, there may be fire but there is also family, friends and restoration. And for that, I’m in love with life all over again.

November 13, 2015

North Windham, CT


*Footnote: It was determined that our old water heater shorted out and caught on fire. Those dishes I washed at 7:30 pm, started it all.


Posted: August 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

In the moments within inner peace and contentment

A heavy door closes

Through that door

Nothing passes

Not a memory or nagging task

Not a sense of pain

Nor a pang of regret

The light of night and day can not penetrate

Wind, rain and heat or any indication of weather

Are shut out

Behind the door lies a comfortable nothingness

A space reserved for restoration

Of body and mind

We live so hard and so fast

We love until we hurt

We imagine our dreams will one day come true

We trip, stumble and fall

Before we rise yet again

With renewed dedication and determination

We must go inside the door

With only our breath

And our beating heart

We must close the door tightly

With our last bit of strength

Only when the door is closed

Can we welcome

Inner peace

And contentment


August 19,2015

Coventry CT

The Greatness Within

Posted: June 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


When unharvested

Lies dormant and heaped upon

Underneath the heavy burdens of life

The quest to survive

The pain and guilt we carry

The constant hunger and thirst of our bodies

Our intentions for greatness

Lie still and waiting

Our talent shares its shadow

Inspiration, a tool which can dig through

The many heavy layers

Covering what we are meant to succeed at

I feel greatness within me

I always have

It is up to me


To purge the mess that has gathered

In my heart of hearts

In my soul of souls

My greatness is still alive

I can feel it

I can hear it speaking to me

Like my body, it hungers

Like my heart, it needs love

Like my soul, it needs to be nurtured

Whatever my greatness will be

Whatever it allows me to do

I will welcome it

For I have waited the longest time

For it to present itself

I know there is greatness in me

As I know there is greatness in everyone

Together we can help each other

Unleash the merciless and all consuming burdens

Of life

To give our greatness a place to grow

To release what was never meant to be repressed

To guide it to the surface

And let it shine

Joanne M. Firth

Coventry CT

June 12, 2015

Days Like Today

Posted: April 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

Days like today

Are no match

For a smile

For it would be forced

And not the truth


Days like today

The mirror reflects

The harsh reality

That once was

Is no more

That it is better to be invisible

Than to have a monster looking back through the dirty glass


Days like today

Scalding hot pain has replaced the blood

That flows through every vein

Grief rises and nestles itself within my soul

Reminding me of all the sadness I’ve ever felt


Days like today

The things I need

Are way beyond my reach

And comfort and clarity

Have been replaced

With feelings that have no words

To describe them


Days like today

Go unexplained

Creeping through me

Like a persistent weed

That chokes all it comes in contact with


Days like today

Try to forbid me to believe

That a day like today

Will soon

Become a day like


Yet, I do

And when I wake again

These dark thoughts

Will be tamed

And tucked back into

The deepest recesses

Of my being


Days Like Today


Are necessary

To strengthen

Faith and hope

Resiliency and tenacity

Willingness to survive

And move forward

And create great distance


Good days


Days like today

April 22, 2015

Coventry CT

dark ocean Alavswn

photo courtesy of Google Images

“Devil And The Deep, Dark Ocean” by Alavwsn