Thursday, 18 October 2012

Fire – A Tale of Greed

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I have started a writing course in the hope that I can improve the content on these pages. The course covers both Prose and Poetry and having written several pieces of prose which other students on the course kindly said they enjoyed, I thought I would ask the readers of ‘Poet at Jaybern’ what they think of it.

I know it is not Poetry, but it fits with my aim of finding things I might like doing as I reinvent myself.

I would be very interested in what you think about my prose so please leave constructive criticism if you can. If you think it appropriate please don’t hesitate to say; ‘stick to the poems’;-)

I won’t cry too much ;-)

Fire – A Tale of Greed

Rudyard Kipling; ‘Jungle Saying’ from; ‘The King's Ankus - The Second Jungle Book’.

“These are the four that are never content, that have never been filled since the dews began; Jacala's mouth, and the glut of the Kite, and the hands of the Ape, and the eyes of Man.”

*****

We met first on the plains of Africa when lightning struck an acacia tree. In those days Africa was not known as Africa, lightning was Mother Nature’s anger and the Acacia? Well, things didn’t have names back then. The burning tree set the grassland alight and the wind carried me ahead of it. The creatures of the plains ran from me, where I caught them they perished. All the creatures on the plain knew to run from my twisting orange and red tendrils, as soon as they smelt the scent of my smoke they would stop what they were doing and run with the wind. I said all the creatures; but that’s not so, the short haired ape, just down from the trees was different for he was intrigued and was always first to return and he would play in my ashes, chasing and dancing with my flying sparks.

Yes man was different, he had greed akin to the Jackals mouth and from those early days he always wanted more. His instinct told him that if he could harness my power he would become master of all. He learnt to breathe life into my sparks and coax flickering flame from the wood and grass he gathered but this was not enough for him. He wanted me at his beck and call, and waiting for a lightning strike was not good enough. He learnt to carry me, using coals wrapped in tree bark and grasses and from that day on the night plains were lit up by spots of orange light and mankind and I learnt to dance together in the dark.

The rains arrived and man once again was alone in the dark. Then I was born anew, but this time it felt different. I had not been summoned from the heavens; some ‘strange’ spark had ignited me. Man had learnt that striking a stone or spinning a stick would create the spark or embers from which he could coax my flame. Henceforth we have seldom been separated.

The apes had long since mastered using tools. They would use sticks to fish for termites deep within a rotting log or like the birds make nests high up in the trees; but as Mankind learnt to use me as a tool I saw pride creeping into their eyes. I gave them light and warmth at night, I kept tooth and claw away from their door and they used me to heat food, which allowed them to eat things they’d been unable to eat before. Oh, mankind became proud and for the first time since the creator had set the great fire in the heavens, someone thought they owned me and that I had been tamed; they were wrong!

John Carré Buchanan
15 October 2012

4 comments:

  1. Booker prize 2013 watch out!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It sounds rather like a summary of your fire poem, unless I missed something in the fire poem. Interesting and allegorical, though I preferred the poetic version. (It seemed to say a lot more about mankind's relationship with fire.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andy, I explained this in the lead in to the poem, explaining that the Prose version would have had to be too long to include everything, so I had sved bits for inclusion in the poem. Funny how less can be more sometimes. All the best

      Delete

I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.

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