Logs to Burn

This poem was written by my grandmother -- Honor Goodhart -- during the 1926 general strike in England -- except that it was written in 1920 or earlier! It was originally published in Punch in 1920, and has been variously reprinted since then. Alastair Culham actually found the original printed on page 337, October 27, 1920 issue of Punch. He wrote up a nice discussion about his search and discovery of the original poem. Many thanks to him.

The poem has also been set to music by Golden Bough on their "Celtic Music" double CD (which I got from amazon.com -- supposedly used, but still sealed).

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 woodman's cries;
Never heed his usual tale
That he's splendid logs for sale
But read these lines & really learn
The proper kind of logs to burn.

Oak logs will warm you well,
If they're old and dry.
Larch logs of pinewoods smell
But the sparks will fly.
Beech logs for Christmas time;
Yew logs heat well;
'Scotch' logs it is a crime
For anyone to sell.
Birch logs will burn too fast;
Chestnut scarce at all;
Hawthorn 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 to be 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.

                Honor Goodhart, 1920