new zealand electronic poetry centre


A.R.D. Fairburn

online works


The candles gutter and burn out,
        and warm and snug we take our ease,
and faintly comes the wind’s great shout
        as he assails the frozen trees.

The vague walls of this little room
        contract and close upon the soul;
deep silence hangs amid the gloom;
        no sound but the small voice of the coal.

Here in this sheltered firelit place
        we know not wind nor shivering tree;
we two alone inhabit space,
        locked in our small infinity.

This is our world, where love enfolds
        all images of joy, all strife
resolves in peace: this moment holds
        within its span the sum of life.

For Time’s a ghost: these reddening coals
        were forest once ere he’d begun,
and now from dark and timeless boles
        we take the harvest of the sun;

and still the flower-lit solitudes
        are radiant with the springs he stole
where violets in those buried woods
        wake little blue flames in the coal.

Great stars may shine above this thatch;
        beyond these walls perchance are men
with laws and dreams: but our thin latch
        holds all such things beyond our ken.

The fire now lights our cloudy walls
        now fails beneath the singing pot,
and as the last flame leaps and falls
        the far wall is and then is not.

Now lovelier than firelight is the gleam
        of dying embers, and your face
shines through the pathways of my dream
        like young leaves in a forest place.

© A.R.D. Fairburn

Last updated 26 June, 2002