Fire is a cruel mistress,
for she will take all that you have
and leave once it is all gone.
She is hot, but hard to hold
and keeps you warm, but at a cost.
Only ashes can satisfy her lust,
melted memories of her frozen trust.
In the aftermath the sound of silence
drowned out by a sidewalk sermon
sung in hymns beside Our Lady
as good faith by a concrete congregation.
Fire, take what you should wish
and leave us in despondent grief,
but surely you are not aware
that you can burn our wood and stone
and you can burn our flesh and bones
and you can burn our church and throne;
but you cannot burn unburnt souls
nor Mother’s cross of holy gold.