Poetry by Nick Carding
A muffled boom, the crack of glass across the street
and through the blinded window
fire peers with curious orange eyes.
An orgy of activity.
Doors open, slam, cars cough and scream
a protest at the dash to wrench them from the heat.
This rite of property observed,
we trickle back to watch the show.
Until today, though cheek by jowl, we’ve never met
other than in brief hellos
thrown, caught and quickly dropped; the ties
that signify community
without commitment. But set
all that aside: tonight we’re here to let
our new good neighbour, fire, serve
to unite us in its glow.
How quickly it consumes us. Not what we were,
now we hurry to discuss
how soot swirls in the air like leaves,
the speed at which steel bends to earth.
And, like the soot, our sudden friendship whirls
in the storm the fire conceived
and stoops like steel to bless us.
All night the firemen struggled to put out the blaze.
By morning ash was all there was.
No phoenix rose up to redeem us
and so at once we were relieved
that all we’d briefly felt had blown away,
A figleaf in a wind that locked us once again
behind closed doors, just momentarily deceived
by fire’s ability to curse us.
§ § §
Nick Carding, a Brit in permanent, happy exile, lives and works in The Netherlands as a writer, journalist, photo-journalist and (hopeless) poet.
Reprinted from Ink Pot #7; available now