He draws hard. Black backie burns bright in its
bowl. Blue plumes billow, tumble to cumulus,
disperse and fade as fragrant fog. A veil of incense
lingers. His odour signature – sweet briar.
But his furnace calls for frequent fettling.
He tamps down the fiery coals with his first finger,
its flesh is a charcoal callus. Once in a while a
major service is needed.
He separates bowl and stem then shakes the
latter to splat out the spittle and the condensate of
brown brew. Next, the hearth to be tended.
Clearing the grate requires stabbing with the spike
to break clinker prise out the cinder.
Now ready for re-assembly and re-fuelling
with Finest Virginia. Skilful packing prepares the
pyre. The charge is set. Time for ignition.
A Swan Vestas flare is placed at the muzzle.
He draws hard dragging the flame down into the
bed of backie. The furnace flares, sparks fly, ashes
spew. Krakatoa erupts. Vigorous venting, then the
inferno settles to supply sweet smoke.
Copyright © Tony Hargreaves | Year Posted 2021
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