The Flicker of the Fire

I’m alone in this gloriously tidy room – so much stuff
Collected, bought and earned in years gone by.
That bookshelf is full with those books I had always
Wanted; my television is the best money can
Buy; so many souvenirs: that terracotta warrior,
That Buddha statue, that painting by Monet; so many
Antiques that I was recommended to buy.

I sink into my armchair sipping some
Saint Joseph on its own – I’m no longer hungry.
I turn my television off – it bores me.
The two sofas either side of me in the
Corner are empty…

To the side of me is the fireplace ablaze
With that romantic warmth and glow,
Its flickering is the only sound I hear.

There’s a bare table in front of me
Which I put my feet on as I stretch
My limbs in a ghastly yawn.
I close my eyes and think to myself
Whether that table is still there –
My eyes are closed and there’s no one
Else to see it. I lift my feet of the
Table so that I can’t feel it.

I can’t feel anything other than the chair I sit in;
I can’t smell or taste anything other than the wine in my mouth;
I can’t hear anything other than the flicker of the fire;
My eyes are closed – I can’t see a thing.

Then I open them and all of those
Things reappear and yet, should I fall asleep
I have nothing.

’What’s the point?’ I whisper to myself,
Alone, with all my possessions
And the flicker of the fire.

The Flicker of the Fire


Joined May 2008

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Written for a competition where the theme is ‘doubt’, this poem aims to raise doubt in the reader over the idea of existence and consumerism. It is a lonely poem and the protagonist, I believe, is a lonely aristocrat with little understanding of his purpose in life.

This poem has a picture: Flickering Fire.

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