A Picture of Fire

.."War is for everyone, for children too.
..I wasn't going to tell you and I mustn't.
..The best way is to come uphill with me.
..And have our fire and laugh and be afraid."
..... - from "The Bonfire." by Robert Frost

The long gray roads are full of people,
trudging people, women, children and old men
burdened with meager possessions and war.
Box-camera film records this black and white
migration from a fire, from a destruction
of long-built stone, from laughing circles
in a town, empty and waiting to be reshaped.

There are vibrant colour pictures
of a stark landscape, a jumble of tents,
of gaunt people looking at a waterless sky,
of land that is tired of the same old fire,
tired of power breaking old stones
amongst listless children who do not play,
do not discover the stars at night.


Yes, let's go uphill between trees where
the large sky falls through the leaves. Come,
see the fires on the horizon, the silent fires
where video cameras record today's distant
destruction and meagre lives as they falter
along dust-filled roads, searching for water,
searching for a place without burning trees.

We can sit around our campfire and watch
sparks mingle with discovered stars, watch
the succulent flame roast our marshmallows
and listen to stories filled with imagination.
We can laugh in our safe circle, laugh and forget
the pictures, the videos, the hilltop view, forget
what it is like to be hungry, tired and afraid.