14 January 2004

A Cold Weather Song

Logs to Burn

Logs to burn, logs to burn,
Logs to save the cold a turn!
Here's a word to make you wise
When you hear the woodsman cry:

Beechwood fires burn bright and clear, Hornbeam blazes too
If the logs are kept a year to season through and through. (chorus)

Oak logs will warm you well if they're old and dry;
Larch logs like pinewood smell but the sparks will fly.

Pine is good and so is Yew for warmth through wintry days;
Poplar and the Willow too, they take too long to blaze.

Holly logs will burn like wax; you should burn them green;
Elm logs like smouldering flax: no flames with them are seen.

Pear logs and Apple logs, they will scent your room;
Cherry logs, across the dogs, they smell like flow'rs in bloom.

Ash logs, so smooth and grey, burn them green or old;
Buy up all that come your way, they're worth their weight in gold.

I guess that would be a useful song too, if you're the type that goes out into the forest to cut your own firewood. Of course, it doesn't mention my favorite of all the trees, the redwood, because redwood is far too moist and soft and hardly burns at all. (Also, they don't have redwood trees in the British Isles.) I think they're prettier living than dead, anyway, unless you're making a guitar or panelling a room with it, or something beautiful and useful like that. Redwood panelling is lovely. Redwood guitars have a pretty tone, because the soft wood vibrates well especially on the base notes, but also because the wood is soft they are easily scratched and damaged. Maple is better, and if you can get curly maple for your instrument, it's even more beautiful than redwood (Clare, my Thormahlen harp, is made from curly maple). I guess they don't have maple in the British Isles either.

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