Stories of a Fire

The son awoke in a heated house,

Who saw a fire obstruct warm light

Projecting shadows of a mouse.

This son awoke in a wooden cabin,

Looking at well polished cabinets

Flickering by the fire light.

The air was warm and moving,

But stale and breathless – quiet.

Crackles bit at standing air

As though to exclaim to him

How he shouldn’t be lying there.

The son adjusted in the room,

heat still rising from the flumes.

And flames whispered red flashes of light

Which disguised the windows in reflection…

Reflections fleeting distantly, leaving in all directions…

As disguised as that, despite his intentions,

The sky had proceeded to turn into night.

The night approached upon this heated house,

And sleep whispered in the ears of the theatric mouse

Who had just found a piece of bread.

Some cabinets sunk into the wood of their planks,

The rosewood panels sinking into red.

And then he remembered something of cardinal ranks,

Glints of steel and shouts, something about positioning flanks…

And warmth encroached his eyes with pull of sleep upon this bed.

The nighttime, meanwhile, watched like owls over what seemed to be

His bed.

The cold was dancing, frostily awake, and rigid in winds and howls.

Those slumping windows were old with weathering, scowling,

And the descending woods began to creak,

as ancients stagnate before they speak.

The stars were white outside, as snow began to fall

Softly speaking the silence on the walls.

And ice was spreading like some darkened thing into the forest creeks.

The trees weighed down with snow mounted on their backs

while foxes found they could move without a watcher.

While starry white light lit the pining lands and darkened trenches,

the falling snow excited avalanches far away.

Peaceful dark enjoyed its arts.

The house’s spaces

– worn with years and ages –

were old and carried themselves as if to speak in moans.

And such a house had creaked, the fire speaking clear,

While owls of the nighttime were peeking,

quiet and cautious, through the window tiers.

The snow was a falling, tree and wind were

calling, calling upon that wooden door.

Stars were shining and weather was pounding, while the years

That he had forgotten

were whispering in his ears,

“Sleep the dreams away. It will come back one day.”

And so a son had sat,

And so the son had sat,

Watched by the night time’s owl eyes.

The fire was lit and burning out his forgotten lives,

Costing him his knowing of the memories he prized.

But the flames where wicking, and the storm was far away.

But the warmth was pleasing and the storm was far away.

His turbulence was shouting and the fire shouted back.

Leaning forward he only found he could not move his back.

Some fox was moving out there, somewhere, not leaving any tracks.

Rocks sat freezing in the creeks carving growing cracks.

Rosewood sank and so did snow, falling off the roof.

A faint memory of a summer day slowly began to show.

But should he stay awake to listen?

But could he remain with wakefulness to hear?

The winds were howling and panes were growling,

And his mind was frail and shattered.

Windows were shivering, as the hail had ‘pattered’…

He saw the summer day ahead,

But turned to face the other way instead.

In his mind he saw the moon…

but the warmth had played such a peaceful tune…

And though, though just behind his eyes, he felt that summer breeze sway,

he could not will to fight the fire as he began to say,

“So far away, that summer day,

So far away…so far away…”

Sam Miller, Age 17, Grade 11, Brooklyn Friends School, Silver Key

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