Ancestral fire

Posted on: 29 April 2021

Somewhere in the Balkans, long, long ago.

Once upon a time
On long-forgotten lands

Way before the bloodshed
The genocide and persecution

Before the violence
The oppression
The abuse
And the abandonment

Before the grief of separation
And the heart-crushing sorrows

There was a fire
That burned strong
In the heart of the village

And there
Beside that fire
Tending to it’s flames
Night and day

Was a small man
Strong as an ox
Weathered by the searing heat
And dark, inhospitable winters

Wild as the Balkan winds

He knew the language of the birds
And the plants
And could read the shifting landscape
Even in the moonlight

He was fierce and tender
In equal measure

But one night
As all the people of the village slept

He lent his stocky frame
Towards the warmth of the glowing embers

A single tear glistened
By the dying light of the fire

In that moment

He felt the suffering
Of all the children

And wondered
If the birdsong even mattered
Any more.

Ancestral fire

Sam Lacey