Lesley Quayle: a poem



The Night of the Barn Fire

This side of midnight

a starless sky erupted,

flared over pines and oaks,

extraordinary as dragons.

Rooks soared like prophets

and fled their colonies,

ancient augurs of stack fires.

Sappy hearts of elder and blackthorn

became supernova as fire surged

through the ribcage of the woods,

turning hogweed and bramble to ash.

Air sickened, thick with smoke

and soft, black shrouds of soot.

We watched, from a safe distance,

as the aged Dutch barn buckled

and swayed on molten pillars,

swooning in the heat like an old duchess.

Someone hoped aloud for rain

while breezes bedevilled stray embers,

fidgeted charcoaled leaves like rosaries.



Lesley Quayle is a poet, editor, retired sheep farmer and folk/blues singer, currently living in Dorset. Her poems have been published in The Rialto, The North, Interpreter’s House, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake, Tears in the Fence and many others. Her most recent pamphlet is Black Bicycle (4Word press).