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The Two Faces Of Candlelight by Kathleen Proctor

Exotically scented, bergamot and lavender,

Diffusing a subtle aroma into the cosy room,

The fluid flames a focus, a living entity

Creating magical pictures in the dark.

Mesmerising, romantic, comforting.

It demands attention. Lights subdued,

We relax, watch the changing shapes it casts

In the shadows. Calming, restoring peace 

And harmony to our souls. We can forget our fears.

As we watch our dreams dancing in the flickering flames.


A scented candle, a loving present 

Only takes a second to light the fatal flame

Placed in pole position on the hearth

To give light to a dark corner.

It is not the only one, others are scattered randomly,

Carelessly, on flat surfaces, but these are innocent.

People home from the theatre, a final drink before dispersal.

Glasses filled with sweet wine, a night cap,

The twirl of a chiffon skirt and then the sudden end of peace

Vicious. A flash and a flare. A scream. Such a scream!

A cessation of movement, of conversation.

A tableau of static inaction. Incomprehensible.

Then panic. Quick! Oh quick! 

But the fire has claimed its victim, it will not let go.

It has the power. No mercy, no quarter given

They are too slow, too unprepared,

No training, no water, no plan, no hope.

Finally it is over leaving smouldering material

Melting on the tender flesh of a young girl

Whose future dreams have gone up in smoke.