Featured Poem: The Fireside by G.F. Bradby

This week’s Featured Poem comes from Older People’s Project Manager Katie Clark (who is currently on maternity leave – thanks for leaving this poem with us, Katie – and lots of luck to you). Hopefully you can read this by your own glowing fireside, but we think it will warm the heart and soul regardless.

This is a wonderful, warming poem to read on a cold winter’s day. Many people in my Get Into Reading groups in care homes talk about the open fires they had in their homes as children. It seems that ‘the fireside’ was a wonderful place to be, and that it was often the place in the home where families came together to rest, talk, sing and even toast their bread on cold evenings.

This poem captures the idea of the fire as a catalyst for memories and imagination, and also the ever changing nature of the flames which don’t allow thoughts to settle, but ‘flicker and flash’ across the mind before disappearing again.

The Fireside

In the ember’s drowsy glow
Fiery figures come and go,
Quiver into crimson light,
Now a goblin, now a knight,
While the winter wind makes moan
And the clock ticks on and on.
Snatches of mysterious rhymes,
(Fairy lore of nursery times)
Long imprisoned in the brain,
Leap to life and sing again;
Dreams forgotten with the waking,
Thoughts that vanished in the making,
Fancies, memories and moods,
Crowded hours and solitudes,
Ancient fears and old distresses,
Childhood’s wanderings and guesses –
Everything that one remembers
Makes a picture in the embers,
Grows to clearness, flickers, flashes
Burns a moment, then is ashes.

G.F. Bradby

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