A complex iron finial-head
still jazzling from the forge
smokes in its ash and sparkles
in the shadowy workshop—
but no:
in fact it’s a feathered
intricate protea bloom
haloed in a dusty ray of sun,
which in turn evades the stark
that it’s an incandescent
missile tamped in the choke
of an 18th century mortar, aimed
to ignite a timber city.

—Les Murray