Jennifer Kersey

An open fire

An open fire.

When you look at a coal fire what do you see,
is it just a source of heat, or are you like me?
For within that grate is a reflection of all,
not just a fire, a hearth or a hole in the wall!
Preparation starts with the rolling of sticks
(a `skill` learned from mum when I was just six!)
It’s an `art form` that needs most careful consideration,
tricks(no `new fangled `lighters)from a past generation.
Newspapers-from the old print springs a new story,
re-hashed, re-incarnated in a novel form of glory,
first a roll, then a fold and soon it is done,
such ingenuity `sparks` this little piece of the sun,
but first, yesterday’s `leftovers` must be taken away,
the ashtray emptied and then it’s ready for today,
sticks on the top-base of `scrunched up` paper,
will make it easy to start-but `oh, what a caper!`
`Top it off` with `icing`-some call it black gold,
and now awaits our `child` to banish the cold,
next, light the base paper and this sleeper awake,
it starts with a flicker-its first breath to take,
then watch as it grows in stature and in strength,
like a youngster-impatient, full of promise, but, at length
it settles down and into middle age, grows,
with beautiful hues and dancing shadows,
a plume of smoke from a split piece of coal,
yes, our fire’s got warmth, but it’s also got soul.
Throughout the long winter nights, it’s heat we need,
and when the flames draw low and it begs a `feed`
I throw on some coal and then maybe a log,
this scene of tranquillity made purr-fect by a `mog`(cat)
lying there on the mat in a classical pose,
curled up by the hearth, with it’s tail `round it’s nose,
and so, by and by, with the dying embers,
I gaze into the flames and my mind remembers
times gone past and a childhood so dear,
loved ones, some long gone, they do all re-appear.

But now it’s late and our fire has grown `old`,
the lovely warm room has suddenly gone cold,
the long day is done and is all but dead,
I put the cat out, then it’s straight off to bed!

Jennifer Kersey 1993.