Rising ambitiously, they set a goal
Of smoking out the red, reluctant sun,
Which smolders like some just-embarrassed coal.
Whatever looks to start has not begun,
But still the clouds’ bombastic undersides —
All glowing pearl and sulfur, rose and nacre;
Tinged by the star their mass elides —
Are banking blazes over every acre.
Puffed up with all the threats one could expect,
The two contend who’ll be the one to burst.
Dawn finds sky watchers pausing to reflect:
That on this earth, the burning may come first;
That somewhere, yearning arsonists aspire;
That something’s trying to set the world on fire.
— From the December 16, 2013, issue of National Review.