Tuesday 8 March 2016

A dying craft-lighting fires

My children can neither light fires nor drive.
I fear for them.
Or did.
But a recent visit to a younger friend's homes has brought me face to face with the lastest technology in house heating. Remote control lighted fires. Gas. And every bit the business!!
You can dim or brighten its flames at the proverbial press of a button, intensify or lesson heat without stirring a poker.
So no worries...

And as for cars? Self driven vehicles about to hit the Irish market?
I kid you not!
Autonomous, driverless, self driving, robot -driven, call them what you please.
They can "sense " the environment and "navigate" without your intervention , thank you very much!

And since robots are regulation compliant :
The end of road checks, breathalysers, traffic Gardai, traffic wardens, the taxi business,the Road Safety Authority, Gay Byrne et al ....

And since we purport to be the digital hub of Europe we should be leading the way, according to the  proponents of road autonomy.
To the transformation of our way of life, it has to be added...

The word singularity creeps into the conversation.
I didn't know what it meant either
but to cut to the quick, its when artificial intelligence gets smarter than us...
and we are getting there...fast...

All a bit hair raising to me who am a late adaptor to everything.

No poems on this phenomenon yet but one on the stove.
In the meantime here's one to celebrate the lighting of fire, hands on style, which is about to become an obsolete skill.

On Aging

Warming to the subject
you smooth the table-cloth
with long-sweep strokes
soothing, as you might, a child
all the while tending to two fires.

One , narrow and lean and aged, like you
generous in his showering of sparks
and heat and flame.

The other sluggish,petulant.
You coax and humour
carefully calculating the moment
to close flue, hoping
to drive her breath of fire
in wide-flung-circuit
around the belly of her.

She gasps, chokes, exhales wood-smoke
fails on the intake
You open flue again and wait.

This waiting comes with age
Tender of fires
And with these hands that sweep
and smooth and coax and tend
you ease your way towards
this, your crowning.

Copyright with Cathy Leonard 2016

1 comment:

  1. It would seem that operating a computer will be the only skill required in the future! I'm sure the children will do fine! I love a real fire, and I still remember having to learn the skill of lighting a fire when I first moved to Ireland. It was in a flat on Adelaide Road. My first few attempts failed miserably.