To My Wood Burning Stove
by Monica Ritterband
Monica Ritterband is an artist, writer and wood stove designer.
In my highceilinged lofty tower, hour by hour,
you are presiding
round and sound and special and black
waiting in majestic serenity
for my freezing nose and toes to be back.
You are almost new,
capless you were brought by a muscular man
who puffed and blew.
You came by dolly, you came by van,
and he struggled and staggered about
and was on the verge of an angry shout.
He crowned you with a pipe on top
to send smoke and fumes and good thoughts
all the way up.
No doubt you will be my new great flame,
so say my nose and my toes,
they tell me the same,
maybe the best ever, who knows!
You swathe me in your warmest charms,
no gagging, no nagging, no clinging, no clanging
with long words and arms
and sharp, biting teeth,
you open your soft mouth and swallow everything,
shimmer out a light so mellow
with red and blue and ochre and yellow
that my slippers and my woolly socks
get the elbow and I let my toes tip-toe around
and I am submerged in your crackling sound
while my nose takes in the sweet and spicy smell
of apple and wood,
there is marmalade bubbling on the stove,
and at bedtime beech and oak is your food
and - I confess - a trifle of fir
that turns your crackle into a sputter
rather like a child that spits
his codliver-oil into the gutter.
I am in my own room,
my own reservation,
indeed, I have drawn into my private station.
from corner to corner there is a blanket,
invisible you know,
the moon is biding her time to turn the tide
from high to low,
my defences are down
and my duty has come to an end,
I am off, and so is my mask,
but you are on, my friend.
I am no longer the drudge of the day,
no longer the hilarious clown in oversized clogs.
I have no other task
than being at home, finally alone
with my woodburning stove
full of logs.
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