Sunday, 31 January 2016

Ode to the Rayburn

Ode to the Rayburn

Throughout the Summer you solid squat
an iron mass, doors numbering four
your heavy eyelids held tight closed
chrome eyelashed like some blinged-up whore.
Your brooding blackness fills the corner
lends it darkness, saps the light,
no comfort will I find within you
whether it be day or night
for should I chance to get too close
your skin will suck the heat from me
the needle on your gauge at zero
you slumber, and I let you be.
But come the Autumn you awaken
I brush you down and clean you out
surround you with fresh feed and fuel
make you feel less cool without
The ritual begins in earnest
paper first, then willow chips
and thicker sticks, all laid in lattice
tunnels where the hot flame licks.
Now logs to crush the embers down
and slowly make an ashen bed, 
so Ash goes in and shrinks to ash
while giving up its heat instead.
Quietly you start to sizzle
water in your boiler warms
spitting willow in the firebox
sparks contained will do no harm.
The needle on the gauge is lifting,
oven warming, hotplate too
I lift one eyelid, you respond
awakening with work to do.
Kettle filled I gently place it, 
but water on its underneath
spits a violent reaction
instant steam demands relief
I sit back and read awhile 
aware that you are gaining power
the kettle gently starts to sing
from nought to a hundred,
Half an hour!
Tonight, above your shielded hotplate
ironing will be hung to air
a silent job to last the night time
but you will neither know nor care.
So as the winter’s wicked tendrils
creep through gaps ‘tween door and floor
You become the silent heart
of welcome in our home once more.

© Rob King

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