‘Fire-voices’ by Adam Horovitz

 
Fire-voices

What is religion?
A shared dream of landscape
fenced with simple rules

by which to live a life of listening
for the quivering fire-voice of hope;
            some spark of kindness
in the desert’s inward creep.

*

Does it still the hand
that wields a knife? No,
not always, but it is built to do so;

at least until some chancer learns
how easy it can be to throw
their voice into the fire.
Thereafter, watch the fences burn
and as they burn, watch
how the gentler truths they held mutate
into a cancer-rush of fright;

how people begin listening
to any siren song that panders to their fears,
in a flame that someone else has set.
New fences (ten feet tall and charged
with panic by the lightning bolt) will soon spring up
and then there’s nothing left except
to be livestock in someone else’s bonfire,

screamed at till you cannot wake,
until all that’s left of thought
is the desire to fight.

*

What is faith? The tending
of empty places where structures
fail to find a foothold.

The act of reaching out
for a quivering fire-voice of hope;
            some spark of kindness
in the desert’s inward creep.
 
(A link to related poems, published on Open Democracy   here).
 
Adam Horovitz is a writer based in Gloucestershire. His first collection of poems, Turning, was published by Headland in 2011 and his poetry-driven memoir, A Thousand Laurie Lees, about growing up in Slad, was published by The History Press in June 2014.