Toss it all in. The smoke
thick, greasy, the cinders
cuffed this way and that
by a turbulent breeze.
Hide your eyes. Retreat
until the wind backs off.
Seize handfuls, volumes. Let fire ants
devour the close-furled leaves.
There’s something — you feel it —
of the night, of the lupine
act, unclawed, unfurred,
of living through another day.
Something of triumph. You dart
back, and then back to the flame.
Credit note: “Jump In The Fire” was first published in my third poetry collection, Men Briefly Explained.
Tim says: I guess this poem has its origins in the garden waste fires Dad used to build when I was young, fires with a flammable core surrounded by turf that were designed to burn at a low heat for a long time so that we could load on more grass, branches etc as we worked on our large and unruly garden – this was when we lived in Otatara, south of Invercargill, in the late 1960s. Somewhere along the way, a sport of book-burning seems to have attached itself to the concept.
The Tuesday Poem: Is going to wait till the midnight hour.