Home Fires

By: Stephen Kingsnorth

A line of light at curtain side, above the sill, beside the wall
accompanies the morning call of hoover drone, push then retreat;
and then Dad’s brushing, rhythmic, swish to polish shoes,
I see him standing, newsprint spread on dining top,
stored in the blue bird luxury assortment tin
his dubbin, blossom, laces, dusters and routine
likely followed since the war to now, my teenage.

Although I turn, I cannot breathe when pillow hide
and know no Sunday sleep will overcome his line.
The weekday Ewbank softly rolling carpet sweep,
cane ceiling cobweb brush disturbs nothing but dust.
But this day sleep, till aroused, church bell says now move.

On colder days the wick was turned on landing stove
soon after dawn, paraffin air seeping round but
the three bedroomed house resisted warmth so clothes were
drawn between the sheets and there I dressed, to sound of
tool, shake the grate in courtier stove, lift the ash can
past spring handled poker, and bellows, fender-fenced.
Under staircase, cupboard doors, Dad’s air-raid entrance,
slept with his Mum, and then with mine; now storage dens.
Strong banister, twisted spindles, my peering view,
topped by rail, glossed by sliding journeys, not by me.

Blue heavy armchairs dominated room, lamp-stand,
bright dragon, painted head to tail around the shade.
The large blue square, laid over stone brown-painted floor,
served for carpet, train set base, where I, toddler, met
back the settee with Roger, my imagined friend,
perhaps a brother; did my sad parents ever
think of David Frank, lost son, lost peer and wonder
if the ghost of he, who would be ten, was with me?


Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces accepted by some thirty on-line poetry sites, including Literary Yard; and Gold DustThe Seventh QuarryThe DawntreaderFoxtrot UniformThe Writer’s CaféTwisted Vine, A New Ulster Poetry Magazines, Vita Brevis Anthology ‘Pain & Renewal’ & Fly on the Wall Press ‘Identity’

Categories: Poetry

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