My fire crackles by the shore
And casts an eirie flickering glow.
Like many fires have before;
The woods now murmur ancient lore.
The river whispers soft and low
And sentinel trees beside me stand.
The dry leaves rustle tales untold
While waters ever onward flow.
Perhaps forgotten indian bands
Held frenzied chants beneath these trees;
Joined brethren in convulsive dance,
Or worshiped gods with open hands.
Perhaps explorers wild and free,
Shared shelter on the forest floor.
Or priest brought christianity
To pagan aboriginee.
Or even hunter trailing spoor
On this spot his quarry found;
And with his muskets’ thundrous roar
Stilled beating heart forever more.
Or when the snow lay all around,
The trapper passed with winter furs
Rolled up into a heaping mound
For sale or trade in nearest town.
Perhaps the currents quiet swirl
Carried raft or birch canoe.
While in the depths swift fishes stir
To rise and leap at barbed lure.
Perchance young lovers came here too
For picnics in the summer shade.
A lad his lady love to woo,
Or waning passion to renew.
And in my mind this cavalcade
Of history goes marching by;
While in a silent trance I’ve stayed
To watch the figures pass and fade.
I sit transfixed ‘neath starry sky
By the fire’s magic light.
Then will or fear averts my eyes
And lets the fading phantoms die.
© Loubert S Suddaby. All Rights Reserved.