The Driftwood Flame

Dorothea Mackellar (1924)


There’s a dancing flame in me

   Coloured like a driftwood blaze,

Yellow, mauve and apple-green

   Larkspur blue — an opal sheen


There was once a time when I

   Tried to hush the flame to sleep —

‘Twas in vain those pains to take

   With an angry little snake,

Roused and hissing, wide awake,

   Everlasting watch to keep!


Now I leave it to itself,

   That alone can quench which lit,

It can injure none, unless

   Rudely close to it they press,

And my friends are fond of it.


Small red squirrel of a flame,

   Salty sea-sheen driftwood flare!

If it is not suitable

For my quiet bosom, well,

   Surely that is my affair?

PoetryARNA USYDpoetry, 2018