Tuesday 3 October 2023

Lament for the Open Fire


We hear a lot today, and rightly so, about the dangers of the open fire. But it set me thinking about the benefits and the memories and the role of the open fire in our lives. Watching flames lowers our blood pressure and allows more oxygen to flow. But there are,of course, those particles that infiltrate the lungs..

So here's a rhymed poem, a sort of lament for the loss of the open fire....

When the hearth is gone where shall we gather

To sing a song, tell tales together?

Watch the embers rise and fall, 

Hear fire's stories short and tall.

Tales of caverns deep within

Tales of ships all set and trim

Rigged to voyage where only we can

Through imagery of fire and fan.

Recalling days of measling shins

From drying out socks and shoes and limbs

Steaming 'til our clothes are dry

A Turkish bath best not to try...

Or toasting bread over open flame

On a fine toothed fork fit for the game

Of holding firm 'til the job is done

Then butter and jam and finger licking fun.

Or sending those letters up to Santa's birds

Gathered on the chimney pot primed for the word

Winging them off to the far away Pole

Where the man himself is waiting to be told.

Or listening through the chimney, while snug inside,

To the howling and the whistling of the wind outside.

Or watching the embers dance as they rise

And pirouette and fall until their demise.

Or the burning of love in a fiery grate

When the love's stopped singing at any rate.

When the hearth is gone where is the flame

To ignite our songs and inspire our tales?

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

1 comment:

  1. I remember when I first came to Ireland, that was one of the first things I loved - the open fires. I remember a flat on Adelaide road, and a friend who taught me how to light a fire!