Fire–A Poem and an Experience a Few Nights Back

Our bonfire on Thursday night. Photo taken by Victoria Bruce, one of the most talented photographers around.


The design and art of the brush pile
Offered up before the devouring triumphant blaze—
To this we gather as they gathered centuries long before.
In wartime, this was weapon against enemy and nights of cold;
In the hunt, by the fire they gathered, skinned, carved, and roasted.
Fathers crossed mountains, burned limbs from logs,
Envisioned fields where forests stood around the night’s blazing roar
In the unfinished shadow of cabin walls.
Farm boys with axes and saws cut wood for cooking,
And thought of girls and new lands westward.
Mothers labored, stoking the backlogs, warming stew,
Never letting the fire burn down too low.

Fire draws us close, hugs us, warming one side,
Leaving the other to the renewing cold.
In the flames we still see visions
And we remember beyond memory in seeing the coals.
Fire’s heat penetrates the flesh, reaches the soul.
And when in firelight on those darkest frozen nights,
We see some twig burning but not devoured
We too bare our feet and down fall,
We too make stuttering sounds.

One thought on “Fire–A Poem and an Experience a Few Nights Back

  1. Thanks Ben for this offering. Reminds me that poetry must be read slowly, savored. It requires a participation in the images and a swaying to the rhythm. I particularly enjoyed the image of being mesmerized when looking into the burning embers in your “we remember beyond memory in seeing the coals”. The allusion to the burning bush was also reminiscent of God’s deigning to reveal Himself. I just finished Dorothy Sayers’ ‘The Mind of The Maker’, her Trinitarian exposition of artistic creativity. Your poetic offering is a good example of what she describes as the artist’s Idea taking form in Expression and communicated with Power.

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