In Praise of a Chimney
When a particular wind blows
a violent blast from the west,
a great god puts his lips to the chimney
Our chimney’s a pipe of huge dimensions;
mine and my lover’s arms outstretched
to join up in one great ring,
would be less than its circumference.
Its voice is the bull roar
of storm, making a second roof
over our heads and plumping
the whole house down in its vibration.
The complex tones in its song
penetrate our granite hearthstone
into the topsoil, down through
the cold yellow subsoil
to what lies beneath us:
the heat from far below
and the groan of the memory
of fire in the making of stone.
Give me hints of this breath
of the earth, to praise a builder
who, from a lost generation,
raised this chimney.
Let us bring the cave of his oven
to life – bake sourdough
and break it, as we hear Pan’s pipe
calling in our fire.