Between Fire and Shadow

Firelight bends into the room,

a trembling glow transforming space and light.

I watch and notice time

as flames rouse the inanimate;

sparks flirt with a bare wall,

a minuscule inferno designed to stimulate.

A book lies spent in my lap,

words joining together on the page,

swirling like smoke,

waiting patiently to evoke

some response, while couched in dim light.

Like night, darkness has its purpose and place –

I move in and out of it

in time with flames, or slower still.

Orange to black, black to orange,

on the grey wall opposite.

I identify myself just now,

at rest in the space between fire and shadow,

comfortable in this still dimension.



                gently alive

                        as time wends into the night.


The Night Is Not Done Yet

for Sarah Everard


With defiance and a free will

        one steps out

full of life and hope

        but with heartbeat

exceeding its usual tempo

        keys wedged between white knuckles

footsteps on hard pavement

        or the night-darkened grass;                               

threat breathes unseen and potential

        through the darkness, blows

from the buildings, the trees

        and the washed out streetlamps

and falls, spiked and heavy

        and real.

Within a small window of time 

        wedged inside the large expanse

of instants and hours 

        that this ancient planet has seen

some minutes occur



        and a life is snuffed out.

To take cover in the refuge

        of home, freedom shelved in deference

to safety, this sacrifice

        made in “deference”

to the predator,

        or to step out decisive

and defiant against the uncertainty

        of making it home,

you chose life lived, a path,

       your path, your freedom.

So sing on, my lady, into the night

        and carry your breath

over fields, sodden ground,

        blackened woods and town.

There are things to be said

        as the world looks on.

        The night is not done, you see.