She tends her hearth with skill
born of the experience of ages --
An ember coaxed aglow
enflames a rack of logs,
enfolding all the rooms
in warmth against the bitter snow
A good woman,
A woman wise.
Her home is filled
with the pine fragrance of love
slow burning, tender,
bright—but not overly so:
Past, her years of high-flaming fires
which leap, amaze, and too soon die,
which jettison their pointless heat
up into the ungrateful winter sky.
Nowadays her hearth burns
steady and true ,
gentle, continuous, content,
with only the occasional crackle,
spark or two –
enough for interest, like a spice –
an occasional one or two suffice.
On the hearth bubbles a homey stew --
its perfume of comfort penetrating
the receptive grain of wooden walls --
A meal which like the unspectacular but constant fire,
For family and close friends, will more than do.
There comes a time of Elderhood
When love, like fire, burns low and serene –
more wise and gentle than the
noisy, flamboyant tongues
which lick the prematurely broken green
to high crackling.
When young we crave the spray of spark
and little explosions entertain
But we often overlook the goodly power of an elder fire –
that constant, ash-hidden, ember-rich flame.
-- c. 2004