"Making the Fire" & "Solstice"

Making the fire

Each morning I’d get up and make the fire – a pocket-money job , and yet one I enjoyed. The house was still and cold. A thin, insipid light seeped through the blinds. I riddled last night’s embers , watched the ash float down in feathers to the tray below. I’d put that out later.

Time to build.

A cube of firelighter, waxy, white as compressed snow, then scrumpled newspaper and kindling twigs to give a solid base. I’d take some shiny nuts of coal and place them gingerly on the makeshift pyre.

Then light a match. Six decades later I can hear the hiss and bubble of the twigs, the crackling coal, see flames, like flowers bursting into bloom, as crocus light spills out into the room.


The lake is still now, Waiting for its skin.

The path slick with blackened leaves.

Trees anatomised, dissected by the gales stand naked Nerves and arteries and veins outlined against the fading light.

Steady drizzle glitters in the street lights

Strands of pearls

The air is full of pins

Time for closing curtains, shutting doors, Looking to our inward weather all weaknesses laid bare - the heat of anger The permeating shiver of despair

Ian Stuart is a writer-performer living in York. He has had work published in a number of outlets including Dream Catcher, Obsessed with PipeWork and Ink Sweat and Tears. His collection Quantum Theory for Cats was published by Valley Press in Dec 2017. He lives inn a small burrow outside the city with his wife, a small dog, and two cats. Strangely, he collects fountain pens. His Amazon page is here.