Ann Drysdale

Solstice Fire

Stinking pseudo-tinder from shameful, purchased packet.
Whispered apology - cover it quick with sticks,
not gathered nude and raw from damp trees
but sawed, smashed, slivered from pallets,
harvested secretly from unloved furniture
and - no, not flint - neat strikes from a wipe-clean box
foolproof and dastardly.

Ah, Belisama, Summer-bright, take my gift…

offered in honesty from a half-believing heart
that feels in a deep place that your precious fire
is more than warmth and light and the smell of cooking,
more than the clanging cries of the desperate forge,
more even than the fear that stands cold at my shoulder
in the scarily early onset of the evening
at the darkening doorway of this, the longest night.

Ann Drysdale now lives in South Wales, UK and has been a hill farmer, water-gypsy, newspaper columnist and single parent - not necessarily in that order. Her fifth volume of poetry, Quaintness and Other Offences, has recently joined a mixed list of published writing, including memoir, essays and a gonzo guidebook to the City of Newport.