I wasn't sure this was going, then an ending suggested itself.
|Tired from earlier exertions, |
when flames danced enthusiastically
so eager to leap, roar, or spit
pouring out heat and light and sound
the fire settled, banked and comfortable
well blanketed with coals
The hearth glows and dims
as the small house breathes
draughts creeping unnoticed
steal across the room
to kiss the coals and make them blush
Samuel, the aged cat, sits cottage loaf
upon the rag rug spread
altar cloth before the temple grate
nothing disturbs his somnambulant prayers
yet an ear might twitch or an eye open a slit
and briefly reflect the cosy orange radiance.
Asleep, in the wooden chair, drawn close to the fire
where an hour before he had sat down heavily,
boots kicked off and feet in well darned socks,
spread towards the heat,
exhausted damp and grubby from his nocturnal labours
On the table behind him are the fruits of his efforts
two rabbits and a hare
their eyes glassy, fur matted and bloody at the neck
The wires that wrought their deaths, now reset
and ready for other unsuspecting victims.
From the next room the gentle snore of Adam's wife Mary
disturbs neither man nor cat from their own deep slumbers.
Outside the damp has given way to serious rain
that splatters and streaks the windows
traipses across the roof seeking ingress, and
finding none lashes futile at the door before
gurgling failure, it drains into the large wooden butt
busy by the back door.
On the mantelpiece is the clock
wound with chapel regularity every Sunday
it shows an hour so late that it might be early.
Beneath the clock, unopened is
an envelope with foreign stamp.
Neither Adam nor Mary can read.
Tomorrow Mary will take the letter
to the Pastor, who will silently curse
her ignorance as he struggles to
find the words and tell her that
her son is dead.