Workshop Poem I – October 2011

by Jessanah

After dinner dad goes to the wash house
Where his swandri hangs like an old friend
Gumboots stand next to the deep-freeze
At attention and he struggles to slip them on
Tucking in his weathered jeans

He bought the swandri in the infantry
It usually provided an escape from the cold
Tonight, just a haven
From the warmth of his home
Built with young hands and young eyes

The cold brushes his face with a coarse bristle
Like his swandri against leather-like skin
He cuts dry pine into a bundle of kindling
Cradling it close to his chest
Dumping it beside the fireplace

Kindling first, then newsprint
Match against matchbox
A burning fort
Listening to the crackling of wood
Watching, as red sparks tumble onto the hearth
Red only for a moment

His other senses are heightened
And all he sees is a blurry flame
Anxious eyes and soft glimmers
Of a fireplace he wishes he could
Throw his dwindling sight into