‘Firefighters have battled more than 700 gorse fires here in just 10 days’
—Belfast Telegraph, 28th April 2011
It starts with a rustling in the gorse, a hint
of orange-yellow you could warm your hands by.
It escalates into colossal flames,
moving faster than a man could run
on a flat road, let alone up in the hills.
When you dropped the lighter and empty petrol can
and got the hell out, what did you have in mind—
adrenaline rush, a scene from a horror movie,
a wild and glorious trail of beacon fires
screaming that the Germans are coming, the Russians,
the Orcs from Lord of the Rings? What you imagined
couldn’t have been this grey contorted twitching
sprawl of limbs screwed up like dying spiders—
a charred mess. Even the air itself seems scorched,
starved of oxygen. Moonscape, say the papers,
something a spacecraft would land on. Then again,
perhaps this was what you wanted all along—
smoke rising from an alien, ashy landscape,
sending a message back to planet Earth
that you were here, spitting defiance, lost
in a wild and endless orbit of loneliness.