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St Vincents Fire by Nigel Roth




There in the ‘place is a kindling

Leant up against a log

Put there without much thinking,

Thrown on the fire-dog.


It sits for a time, warming

To it’s life, and beginning to see

It’s reason for existing;

To heat the edge of me.


As minutes roll it catches,

And flickers in the deep

And promises the reward that

My body will soon reep.


Alight alight, it fires up

And nudges those around,

It starts to find its pine-knot roar;

A buoyant cracking sound.


Others now will follow,

This is no time to wait,

They glow and sing with pride

And strength, not thinking of their fate.


That kindling burns at both its ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—

It gives a lovely light!


With thanks to Edna St.Vincent Millay.


Photo by Craig Adderley

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