The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons
Even the river is on fire. Ashes rain down on a crowd roaring with excitement. It’s huge, this conflagration, like nothing we’ve ever seen. For the rest of our days, we’ll remember this. You can’t see me clearly, but I’m there: a smudge on the bridge stopping to gawk at the spectacle — a weary costermonger, perhaps, poked by grimy elbows, tarred by spit, jostled for a better view, on the way home to my wife and dog, my supper and pipe, with empty pockets and a sensational story, pretending my next meal won’t be a watery soup of sprouted potatoes and sheep trotters served up by a consumptive child. Tomorrow I’ll trudge again through October’s wind alongside toshers, pure finders, and leech collectors, rat catchers, mudlarks and funeral mutes.
Do you remember us? No. You remember the kings and the martyrs. The grandeur and the horror. You remember the fire, not the sparks.
Amy Ralston Seife
Amy Ralston Seife is an award-winning short story writer who received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. The editor-in-chief of The Westchester Review, she also teaches creative writing classes and workshops in the New York area.
3/22/2022 06:58:31 am
I admire the suspense, excitement, and sense of a fully rounded story Seife delivered in so few words. The last sentence is a knockout punch.
3/23/2022 05:58:22 am
I was drawn into this immediately. You give the painting a voice. Full of clever and imaginative insights.
3/23/2022 04:14:11 pm
There is wonderful progression in this poem, from visual description to the imagined life of the character, to his interior life and his thoughts of the future--all in language appropriate to the time of event depicted. The last section includes the reader in the poem and becomes profoundly universal.
3/24/2022 01:13:53 pm
The specificity of Seife's language is staggering, her command of emotion taut and true. A genuinely gorgeous piece.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on Facebook: