You’d been warned about frostbite: the pins

And needles, fingers feeling like the static

On the telly. And your mum also said

Always to point the sparkler away from you,

Gloved hands holding tight the wavering wand.

You drew letters in the air that spelt out

Only seconds.


It would have been many years later, at a different

Kind of autumn, when the message could have

Made the difference. By that stage you and he

Had already ended your display, the bonfire

A barrow of steaming dust, ready to clear out;

The crowd was clearing, the air was dark with ash,

The rockets, bangs and dazzlers all used up.

Your late mum’s advice may have come in handy, now:

But this time, you and he had grasped too quickly

The wrong end of the stick. You looked down

As your right hand held onto the ember

So tightly, the palm was bitten out of it,

Right at the place where the spark had given out.


One thought on “Embers

  1. Dear James I really like this poem. It slips into the mind and brings all those warnings and images back. Wise and sad, like so many thoughts and feelings we share as we get older. But we still go optimistically to bonfires? Love from Gran


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