A Hearth-Tender’s Oath
The hearth radiates a golden hue against
The cushioned chairs and vermilion sofas,
Which surrounded a stained mahogany table,
Covered in scraps of ink-scratched paper.
The flames whisper soothing comforts to a shaky soul,
Who had only just grazed the touch of the shadow.
Ease your wandering thoughts,
If only for a moment.
So long as the hearth’s glow embraces my hall,
So too will goodwill be given to all.
Open and varnished red, my door swings inward.
Ramen with bacon bits on the stove,
Hot sauce in the pantry,
Hot chocolate and a bowl for dessert.
A life with fire begets a life of comfort.
A life of comfort begets a life of kinship,
Stories, jokes and songs. Once the shadow’s
Had brought fear and paranoia. What now
Holds the night at bay? They May come again.
Fear those dark days, when cowards rose rash
To a violent rage at sight of dissent,
For not much stands in the way
Of my brittle light.
The world had not always known
The love of a hearth-holden home.
Empty, desolate, and dark wove
The fates of all.
The Gods decreed,
We should find balance,
For the darkness was only to last
Half a day. life, promises nothing
But an experience, so be grateful.
Bow low, pray in zealous reverence
To the sun’s mighty presence; then,
Take your children to the deepest caves,
The safest huts, and hidden corners,
And bow low, pray in fervent fear
For the sun’s return.
So our lord’s decreed.
It was fair, and so creatures, who never
Bore sight of kindle or flame bathed only in a half-light,
For what else was there? The massed hogs
Lied in the same filth as we; though they
Slobbered and squealed For a chance to nestle
Their shaved, pink, misshapen skulls betwixt
The toes of their lordly shepherds, despite
Denouncing their rule for their own hog dreams,
And hog-desires. Who am I to hate a hog for dreaming
Of a cool, muddy puddle to rest with the best
Scraps of rotten fruit, and moldy bread.
I wish for different things, though they might
As well be the same, for all the good wishes brought.
Oh, Gods, wisest of beings,
Awesome in sight, despite
Your white-lipped eyes
And botched Botox procedures,
Hoping these mortals,
Below would be too blinded,
Or too high to take notice.
Leave my hearth be. Prometheus
Alone suffers for the love we share,
Why should his blood not satisfy your sacrificial Demands?
And as of yet, my fire remains free and beautiful,
Do you not see the golden shimmer amidst my hall?
Are you not similarly comforted by your own flame?
This oath, I take,
Solemn and true
To my friends,
To my foes,
And to my siblings,
Which we are all;
My blood binds itself to the fate of my flame.
This hearth, I will tend, with loving dedication,
So the light shines freely and kindly; however
Should the kindling run low, tonight or the next;
Then, I shall take my turn, embracing
The second cold of which we are all destined, yet
Should these flames wane, and fade by decree of God
Or their lords, or their creatures, or their livestock;
Then so too does my contract expire.
Outcasts to be made of us all.
I have felt the touch of the shadows,
And wish never to feel them again.
Beautiful are those who live without fear
Of what tomorrow’s night brings.
I tend this hearth, so the fire carries on,
So the sacrifice of many so pure and noble
Will never be forgotten. So our energy,
Which we bring forth will be loved as it is
With neither dream nor desire to intrude.