The Torches and the Trees

after Vasko Popa

When the torches came
and people were smoked from pits,
fire took their homes.
And so they baffled up the streets
for those other people
pushing to get past.

Then the torches said
the trees must burn
to keep the people warm.
Thereupon the island was reborn
into a charcoal sketch
of empty hands.

When overnight the torches
transmuted into trees,
the people walked about
and tarried in their shelter.
Up up high in the branches,
the torches and their ending fire.



Helen Ivory is a poet and assemblage artist. Her fourth Bloodaxe Books collection is the semi-autobiographical Waiting for Bluebeard (May 2013). She has co-edited with George Szirtes In Their Own Words: Contemporary Poets on their Poetry (Salt 2012). She edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears and is tutor and Course Director for the new UEA/Writers Centre Norwich online creative writing programme. A collaborative Tarot pack with the painter Tom de Freston is due from Gatehouse Press in 2015 and she is currently working on a book of collage/cut-up poems for Knives Forks and Spoons Press.

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