Ian McKechnie

Night Moves

I had seen the blaze,
negotiating the nightly way,
over waste ground,
between gutted houses
and the rusting hulks of industry.
What seemed a large conflagration
from afar
was but a small one
Darkness destroys perspective,
and I halted of a sudden,
finding perspective
and children,
half-ringed round a fire.

Their suddenness and silence numbed.
The crumbling blaze,
fuelled from surrounding debris,
lit up sooty, sweaty faces
and glittering eyes,
and the only sound was of fire.
Sparks chorusing in thickened air
obscured what seemed oracular.
and I edged away as one in nightmare,
turning into sudden dark,
an after-image blinding,
eclipsing the way forward, through rubble.
My only reference,
the sound and smell of burning.