A Roaring Fire On A Wintry Night

The fire had been magnificent
as it roared, crackled, popped,
with bright yellow fingers
vigorously dancing skywards,
discharging glowing sparks
floating, shooting through space,
gray smoke swirling.
For a while winter's grip
on this starless night
had been neutralized
by its unexpected brightness,
by its undesired enormous heat.
Once red-hot wooden structures,
now reduced to charred, soggy,
unrecognizable ashes,
reluctantly relinquished the battlefield
to the blackness of the night.
Surrounded by his wife and a
small band of neighbors,
the man stands shivering
wearing only his robe,
wrapped in a blanket,
watching the final embers drown.
A fireman approaches.
"Looks like a total loss.
Know how your house caught fire, Mister?"

Harry Edward Gilleland      2.6.02