Poem ‘Hole’


The hole where a fire used to be
has stared at us for fifteen years,
begging to be filled.
We know we’ve put it off too long,
put up with the inconvenience
and balking at the cost,
hating the insecurity of change
even if it might be for the better.
And then there’s the fledglings
flapping down the chimney each cruel May,
hopping around wide-eyed in darkness,
to be finally coaxed out of injury
through deftly placed curtains,
framing the clean glass of open windows,
an escape into the harsh light.
Remember the circa ’73 newspapers
we found stuffed up the chimney?
Those warm smells of old print and soot,
eyebrows raised at garish red mastheads,
the uneven letterpress lines
telling innocent stories of slower days.
And the Eagles were on the BBC.
For too long we’ve ignored
the unsettling sounds
of western borne gales
raising roof tiles like rattles of doom,
making us state more firmly each year
that something must definitely,
must finally—be done.
But still we continue to shiver
and rue that darn hole
where heat and heart should be.
Another twelve months nearly done, then.
Right now we’ve settled on fresh flowers
to see the winter out, knowing nothing
will ever quite conceal the truth

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

27 thoughts on “Poem ‘Hole’

  1. Times change and we’re still here, trying to fill the hole with all sorts of crap! Love the sentimentality of this piece of reminiscing. Beautiful!


  2. David, this is wonderful. I feel the emptiness through the words so clearly. I love that you’ve used the vacant fireplace as a symbol for the dying relationship while showing that even when we know something is waning we hesitate to let it go. The comfort factor of keeping the status quo. Such telling details here. (At least that’s what this is saying to me, hope I’m not way off!) Lovely poetry.


  3. As we grow older, we seem to reminicise of past forgotten memories. As I read your poem, I recall those lovely thoughts of the past. Just yesterday I met a person who was born and raised in the same state and same small town as I. She was half American Indian, which brought back pleasant thoughts of my childhood best friend who was full bloodied Apache, and who we shared a common bond. The “hole” represents many different views to the reader. Beautiful!


  4. Another gem David.

    “Old print and soot” I can smell it now! And the fledglings, making it out into the light is just lovely.

    This reads so beautifully in a “straightforward” way yet the whole poem seems like one huge metaphor for something though I’m not sure what 🙂



  5. These bright fresh flowers in the old-unused fireplace warm my heart better than any fire in winter! You should see all the thousands (if not millions) of traditional homes (even nostalgically-constructed new ones!) in the U.S. Deep South with fireplaces never used–except MAYBE on Christmas Eve! There is just SOMTHING so spiritually in-gathering about an open fireplace. And I love the lines about the birds and animals that inhabited your deserted fireplace and chimney–so many wonderful memories of the same things happening in the unused chimneys of my Mississippi childhood home!


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