"Fires": a poem by John Greening

There’s one made up of the Norse
world and Anglo-Saxon
spearshafts at the bottom of our garden,
its golden key-bunches seared
to a scarred grey homonym
by morning. Damp. Misty.

I’ve built another out of
three small logs from the elm
they felled for us in May –
an ’80s offer, delivered
through our letterbox with a scattering
of poetry, disease-resistant.

Though not foolproof. Sapporo
Autumn Gold may glow
from the grate all day, but I
am in another room, trying
to make green cuttings catch
with a few breaths and this paper.


This article first appeared in the 29 April 2013 issue of the New Statesman, What makes us human?