Fiery Tree

All night we watched a tree on fire. When lightning struck, an amber grew into a fire on which wind blew. It formed a torch, a lamp, a spire, a totem pole of painted faces. It forced itself up limbs to spew sparks from a smoking chimney flue. It formed a castle with gaunt spaces for glaring windows, flaring doors, tier on tier of turrets, towers and battlements ablaze for hours. And, once, as when a rocket soars and shatters at great height, and wide, fire reached its peak and cast a glow that lit up all the ground below like an incandescent tide. The tree, its trunk and boughs, stood bright with flashing moons and clustered stars, magnificent with all its scars, its every twig outlined in light. Then it became within our sight, a cavernous mouth, a gasp of smoke and, as with a lurch, it broke a giant, flickering out in night.

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