The heart of the fire

What is it in the heart of the fire
That calls us to stand and watch?
Why do the flames draw us nigh
To stare in the dark at the flickering light?
In the red of the glowing embers,
Something inside us is moved
Fire! From primeval past, some remembrance
Of flame and warmth, life and truth.
What truth is there, in the heart of the fire?

At lands end, the booming sea and strand
The cliff edge and the crumbled coast.
What yearning draws us there?
Why do we listen as we stand
Gazing out at ocean’s edge?
Why does the sea-sound sooth
The troubled heart?
What beauty is there, in the sound of the sea?

At the start of time we came
Out of the forest into the light,
Onto the sun-baked plain.
Out from the safety and the gloom
To where we could be seen
Where one mistake was doom.
And today the woodland scene
Remains a place of shelter.
What shelter is there, in the shade of the trees?

Who should not be charmed
By the face of the smallest child?
A baby grins in innocence, free
of art or guile, and the world smiles.
When babies laugh, the angels dance.
No-one looks askance
When a little baby gurgles.
Who would ever tire of such?
What joy is there, in the face of a baby?

The deepest peace is found
In silence. Order is rounded
And rightness renewed, in quiet.
As dreams order our troubled thoughts
So silence prepares us for the onslaught,
For the next task, for the din of daily life.
At the centre, at the hub, nothing moves,
and all is still and quiet.
What voice will we hear, in the time of quiet?

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