Fire Surprises Dark Night, 1950
by Carol Hamilton

The bomb shelter of concrete
and clay-shaded brick became
a bar for the grownups, a ladder
to climb there and look down
on the festive tree, the bonfire,
the children, the neighbors all aglow
with a Polish Christmas on Boxing Day.
The night blazed against the dour Scot
ban on pagan, Papal celebration.
Christmas Day shops were still
firmly open when we lived there
a decade later, but slowly the refugees
turned prohibition to jollity.
The terrifying old structures
and strictures have given way
to laxer times. My artist friend's
remembrance of his father's
determined jubilation blazes
against a dark St. Andrews sky
and lights up a half-melted snowman
in the neighbor's darkened courtyard.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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