Flames

(1998)

"Flames" is the fourth song of Tom Cipullo's song cycle Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House. The song cycle sets six poems of Billy Collins.

Flames
by Billy Collins


Smokey the Bear heads
into the autumn woods
with a red can of gasoline
and a box of wooden matches.


His ranger's hat is cocked
at a disturbing angle.


His brown fur gleams
under the high sun
as his paws, the size
of catcher's mitts,
crackle into the distance.


He is sick of dispensing
warnings to the careless,
the half-wit camper,
the dumbbell hiker.


He is going to show them
how a professional does it.


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