STRIKE A LIGHT                   

Have you ever noticed how the men
All love to play with fire?
From BBQs to burning off,
It seems their hearts' desire.

From little boys with Redhead box
Sneaked from Mum's kitchen drawer,
No matter if their bottoms smacked
Until they're red and sore . . . .

They love to see those flames lick out
From when the match is struck,
And as they pile the tinder on
They can't believe their luck.

Those devilish flames up in the sky
They watch with satisfaction,
A little shocked, but mesmorised,
- Is a typical reaction.

Then when they've grown much older,
An' forsaken childhood toys,
I see very little difference
From when they were mere boys.

Just take the backyard BBQ,
- Considered father's chore,
You'd never see our Mum light up,
We've never heard o'that before.

'Cause she's busy in the kitchen
Putting salad things together,
She'd never show her face outside,
God knows, he'd never let her.

Of course it's never counted
That she's already mowed the lawn,
Swept the outdoor terrace,
An' cleaned the house that morn.

An' that was after baking
Most of the night before,
To ensure the friendly gathering
Had desserts and tarts galore.

"I need some wood & make sure it's dry!"
Dad has the kids all scurrying,
"Some kero too, should do the trick",
As about him they are hurrying.

"OK, where're the matches?
Let's strike 'em on the box",
The flame it spurts, then catches
As on kero'd kindling locks.

At last, it's lit - the panic's off,
For a moment or two at least,
While Dad surveys with manly pride
His latest mastered feat.
"Now where's the meat?" he thunders in,
"Where is it, woman - quick!
The fire's good and ready
To cook a steak that's nice & thick".

Would seem he's most incapable
Of even opening 'frig's door,
As he pleads with Mum to hurry up,
Leaving muddy prints on her nice clean floor.

It's a most important ritual,
This cooking of the steak,
- But while he chats to footy chums
It's burning on the grate!
Mum's shopping habits get the blame,
As he surveys the charred remains,
"You should've used the Butcher,
Not that Supermarket Chain".

Then when barbie's finally over,
An' guests have left replete,
He collapses in recliner chair
With, "Bugger me - I'm beat!"

"But at least, my luv, the BBQ
Gave you an evening off,
I've saved you from the cooking,
- Shame the meat was a bit tough."

It's luck that Mum can't hear him,
As she's wading through her chores,
With washing-up and cleaning,
- She'd likely dong him one, for sure.

By now she's probably used to it,
And just looking forward to bed,
Once she's put on a load of washing
Watered potplants and cat's been fed.

'Cause it's as sure as eggs, tomorrow,
He'll be urging kids around,
To build a big bonfire
To use the wood left on the ground.

So what is it, I wonder,
This thing men have with fire,
Is it the challenge that it offers?
To dominate, their one desire?

Or just a little boyhood thing,
- A toy that comes to life,
Dangerous if not handled well,
- A little like a wife!

So when life's journey's over,
An' to St Peter I aspire,
One question I want answered,
Is why MEN must play with FIRE.

Robyn Tesch
April 2001

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