Inferno…another poem!

I’ve just finished two serious non-fiction books back to back. Stranger to History by Aatish Taseer and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Both well written accounts, the former autobiographical and the latter a biography of Henrietta Lacks, a hitherto, uncelebrated woman, who unknowingly made a contribution to Medical science that revolutionized the field of genetics and Tissue Research (Will post my review later).

So after such heavy reading (although the books were surprisingly easy to read by my non-fiction standards!), I needed a palate-cleanser and so I turned to Roald Dahl 🙂 For the life me I cannot understand why I haven’t read him before! Yes, I confess I haven’t! Dahl and Seuss are not authors I read during childhood for reasons best known to nobody! But better late than never and I have been having a ball reading extracts from his stories and the genius of the man just blows me away! I don’t know why he should be labelled a children’s author either…none of his stories are fairy-tales in the true sense. Many are pretty graphic and gritty and don’t smooth over the rough stuff, especially his Revolting Rhymes which had me in splits 😀 There’s a lot of ‘cutting of heads with thwacks of the sword’ and the like, which perhaps not everyone would want to read with kids? They are real stories of real people told in the most fantastically imaginative ways 🙂 I for one though will have no such issues when it comes the time to read them with Ishaan! Something tells me, he’ll love reading about the BFG and Esio Trot and Crocky Croc 🙂 My favorite so far is Esio Trot and I’m going back to the store on Monday to get a boxed set of his classics like Mathilda, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 🙂 The illustrations that accompany the stories are a treasure! A huge reason why I love children’s books to this day are the pictures. I wonder why as they grow up, authors & readers, begin to feel pictures are redundant 😦

I know, I know, you’re wondering what all this has to do with the unlikely title of Inferno 😛 I’m getting to that…Geez a little patience people! Reading Dahl’s poems made me want to write poetry again. I have written two recently that you can check out here & here if so inclined, and quite enjoyed the experience 🙂 I’m not a prolific poet but for me the writing of poetry brings more personal satisfaction, coz I find it more difficult than prose. Also there’s something about rhyme that just knocks me off my feet 🙂 This particular poem on Fire took me a while to write, because I edit myself severely when I’m writing. Now that it’s done, the thought of a series on the 5 elements, Earth, Fire, Water, Air & the Void seems attractive! That’s me…never happy to leave well enough alone 😉 Meanwhile, without further ado, here’s my take on Fire.

Happy reading while I try to write something more Dahl-esque 😛

Happy Weekend People 🙂

Loved these candles in a church in Barcelona...


Mellow flames that sing & dance,

Burn yellow, red and gold,

Shining warmth and comfort,

Soothing to behold.

From the first time that they came alive,

In putting stick to stone,

The radiance of fire,

Through centuries has shone.

Glowing orange embers,

Shutting out the cold,

Melting milk & chocolate,

For children, young and old!

Baking pies & cookies,

Roasting birds and nuts,

Melting cheese and toasting bread,

In warm and cheery huts.

Shaping glass and metal,

Weapons old & new,

Fireworks on summer nights,

In scintillating hues.

Flames can be kind and gentle,

As we have seen above,

But the fury of a fire,

Hides in the gentleness of doves.

A violent reaction,

To a flame upon a stick,

The dainty, humble kitchen match,

Brings down forests, old & thick.

When luminous and steady,

A traveler’s delight!

In a fire-breathing dragon,

Lies the bane of every knight!

Burying town and city,

‘Neath stones and dust and ash,

Molten flowing rivers,

Life extinguished in a flash.

The flames, they hallow and they cleanse,

The spirits of the dead,

Sometimes they feed on fuel,

Sometimes on souls and dread.

Spreading light and sparkle,

Innocently shone,

The flames that roast a chicken,

Can char it to the bone.

So listen to your mother,

When she warns you little thing,

“Don’t play with fire, Darling!

That’s how it all begins.”

Beware the gentle flame my friend,

Lest it burn that tender skin!

Trust not its gentle shimmer,

An inferno dwells within!

– Harsha



2 thoughts on “Inferno…another poem!

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