Louis MacNeice reads his poem Brother Fire
by Louis MacNeice (1907-1963)
When our brother fire was having his dog's day
Jumping the London streets with millions of tin cans
Clanking at this tail, we heard some shadow say,
"Give the dog a bone" - and so we gave him ours;
Night after night we watched him slaver and crunch away
The beams of human life, the tops of topless towers.
Which gluttony of his for us was Lenten fare
Who Mother-naked, suckled with sparks, were chill
Though cotted on a grill of sizzling air
Striped like a convict - black, yellow and red;
Thus were we weaned to knowledge of the Will
That wills the natural world but wills us dead.
O delicate walker, babbler, dialectician Fire,
O enemy and image of ourselves,
Did we not on those mornings after the All Clear,
When you were looting shops in elemental joy
And singing as you swarmed up city blocks and spire,
Echo your thought in ours? Destroy! Destroy!