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THE FIREPLACE
by Mark Tomlinson

There was nothing else but the fireplace in that vast and empty room.
As tall as a door and as wide as three and as cold as a Vikings' tomb.
I stood against the farthest wall and I gazed at its' gaping maw.
And I told myself that I hadn't seen the things I know I saw.

And I told myself that I had not heard the things I know I heard.
That there hadn't been a muffled cry or a single shouted word.
I shook my head and I hugged myself and I said I didn't care.
While the echo of those phantom sounds still shivered in the air.

While the echo of those phantom sounds still shivered in the air.
I shrank against the peeling wall and I stammered through a prayer.
And then again I saw the scene that had chilled me to the bone.
An endless loop of captured time in that empty room, alone.

An endless loop of captured time in that empty room alone.
Two figures from another age, their lives to me unknown.
But I saw the fate of a ragged child in the chimneys' ancient gloom.
While a cruel master urged him on to a dark and awful doom.

There was nothing else but the fireplace in that vast and empty room.
As dark as death and as deep as time and as sure as the Fates' own loom.
I fled the sights and I fled the sounds but the terror held me tight.
And I know I'll live it all again when I close my eyes at night.

Copyright - Mark Tomlinson. All rights reserved.


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