Wood Poems

A poem, a song, a crib of useful lore.
This is a series of wood fire poems, detailing the properties of the different trees on the fire. Many versions exist, and most highlight Ash as the best wood to burn.

The Wood Fire – version 1

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year;
Oaken logs burn steadily
If the wood be old and dry;
But ash dry or ash green
Makes a fire fit for a queen.

Logs of birchwood burn too fast,
There’s a fire that will not last;
Chestnut’s only good they say
If for long it’s laid away;
But ash new or ash old
Is fit for a queen with a crown of gold.

Poplar makes a bitter smoke
Fills your eyes and makes you choke;
It is by the Irish said
Hawthorn makes the sweetest bread;
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with a golden crown

Elmwood burns with a churchyard mould,
E’en the very flames are cold;
Apple logs will fill your room
With an incense like perfume;
But ash wet or ash dry
For a queen to warm her slippers by.

Other verses from adaptations:

Flames from Larch will shoot up high,
Dangerously the sparks will fly.

Store your beech for Christmastide
With new cut Holly laid beside.

Wood Poem – version 2

Oak logs will warm you well
That are old and dry
Logs of pine will sweetly smell
But the sparks will fly.

Birch logs will burn too fast
Chestnut scarce at all;
Hawthorn logs are good to last
Cut them in the fall.

Holly logs will burn like wax,
You may burn them green;
Elm logs like smoldering flax
No flame to be seen.
Beech logs for winter time
Yew logs as well
Green Elder logs it is a crime
For any man to sell.

Pear logs and apple logs
They will scent your room,
Cherry logs across the dogs
Smells like flower of broom.

Ash logs smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come your way –
Worth their weight in gold.

The bard Robin Williamson has put this one into song.  Here is a 30 second clip of the track:

[audio:http://www.awalkaroundbritain.com/upload/files/Robin-Williamson-Tree-poem-clip.mp3]

Wood Poem – version 3

Logs to burn! Logs to burn!
Logs to save the coal a turn!
Here’s a word to make you wise
When you hear the woodsman’s cries.

Beechwood fires burn bright and clear,
Hornbeam blazes too,
If the logs are kept a year
And seasoned through and through.

Oak logs will warm you well
If they’re old and dry,
Large logs of pinewood smell
But the sparks will fly.

Pine is good and so is yew
For warmth through wintry days
But poplar and willow, too
Take long to dry and blaze.

Birch logs will burn too fast,
Alder scarce at all.
Chestnut logs are good to last
If cut in the fall.

Holly logs will burn like wax,
You should burn them green,
Elm logs like smouldering flax,
No flame is seen.

Pear logs and apple logs,
They will scent your room.
Cherry logs across the dogs
Smell like flowers in bloom.

But ash logs, all smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come your way,
They’re worth their weight in gold.

We found the one above in Ray Mears’ Bushcraft book.

In an old tale called “The Death of King Fergus”, Iubhdan (pron. Yoo-dan), King of the Leprechauns speaks of the qualities and uses of timber.
He warns that one should never burn ivy/woodbine, it is the King of Trees – having the power to kill other trees. It rules the forests, and, he says, must be treated with very great respect.

2 Responses to “Wood Poems”

  1. nick says:

    awsome poem can u make more :) :)

  2. Nicky says:

    Hi

    I have another version of the the ‘logs to burn’ poem:

    Logs to burn! Logs to burn!
    Logs to save the coal a turn!

    Beechwood fires are bright and clear
    If the logs are kept a year,
    Chestnut’s only good they say
    If for long ’tis laid away;
    Birch and fir logs burn too fast,
    Blaze up bright and do not last.
    It is by the Irish said
    Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
    Elmwood burns like churchyard mould,
    E’en the very flames are cold;
    Poplar makes a bitter smoke
    Fills your eyes and makes you choke;
    Applewood will scent your room
    With an incense like perfume;
    Oak and maple if dry and old
    Keep away the winters cold:
    But ashwood wet or ashwood dry
    A king shall warm his slippers by!

Leave a Reply