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Fire Lighting Manual

Rise like Lazarus,
descend the pitted stair,
in threadbare underwear
and gaze through goose bumps
at last nights ashes.
Shovel them up
large lumps and small,
stagger yourself
out into the hall,
slip through
the Tupperware kitchen,
and mind you don’t fall.
Pull open the hard board
coated back door,
head into an icy blast.
You are ash,
embers burning down to naught.
Glittering coals
dance like jewels
among the fools gold
in the rickety rain soaked  shed.
You wish you could
bugger off back to bed,
but you fill the bucket
and your head with black
then retreat back
to planet Hearth.
Crumple pages from “The Daily Dearth,”
lay some wooden sticks,
light a match
and go to blazes.

12 Dec 11

Rated 10 (10) by 2 users.
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Dear Larry Lazarus Lark,

delightfully macabre, shades of Sweeney Todd.
Planet Hearth should be coined. Tupperware kitchen is a clever reference to a parallel universe. Most of all, I enjoyed lines 18-20.

Thank you.
 — lysandre

excellent poem.  I especially like the first line till the end.
 — JKWeb

who is your cargo, human or feral  ?
 — Rossant

I'm gearing up for Xmas lysandre. Fires are one of my old roasting chestnuts at this time of year

Larry Hose piper Lark
 — larrylark

Really JK i do so admire your dogged determination

Larry end to end Lark
 — larrylark

the poem is decent enough, with some fine lines and turns of phrase, but seems like a bland sandwich. to me, it's bookended by a strong opening and a strong finish, with a weak middle.

the opening sets up nicely, with
Lazarus (dead man walking,setting up the to-come idea of being roused from deep sleep),
descend pitted stair (strong concrete image of walking down poor quality stairs from the bedroom), and  
threadbare underwear (both the time-of-day, and supposed financial status of the subject being introduced).

the ensuing wording loses the strength of the opening in a few places, such as

gaze through goose bumps -- i feel something a little more deft could be used here, the idea of shivering could be imparted in a way that doesn't require the reader (me) to envision someone with goosebumps on their eyeballs.

stagger yourself/slip through -- these sound as though they are at odds with each other. slip through comes across as being a fluid, almost graceful motion. if slip through was meant to conjure a slippery floor, it didn't work for me.

Tupperware -- i think i understand why this was used, but the image is somewhat colourful and comical to me, piles of plastic bowls and stacks of cups arranged about.

You are ash,/embers burning... -- having much experience with tending to woodstove home heating, this is pretty hard to swallow. it's simply not true. ash is ash, embers are embers.

Glittering coals... --  the "Manual" portion of the poem has been abandoned here, for descriptive purpose?

You wish... but you fill... -- again, the opening pattern of the piece (educational/instructional) has been abandoned. not necessarily a bad thing, but consistency can be important. perhaps it could be edited into the imperative? "Don't wish... fill the bucket"

the poem comes round on itself strongly to finish, depressingly, with l25 working nicely with Daily Dearth, planet Hearth being clever in a not-too-out of place way for this poem, and the final go to blazes bringing all the images/allusions to death, suffering/hell together (Lazarus, 16-7, coal/fools gold).

it's interesting to re-read a few times, and fairly well-constructed, but needs a bit more prodding with the cast iron poker of the editor's pen.
 — unknown

wor a crit unknown.I am overwhelmed and knee deep in the ashes/embers of admiration. Its much appreciated

Larry on fire Lark
 — larrylark


Larry cross bred Larkl
 — larrylark