Afloat on birdsong, hawthorn petals and young leaves
Nov. 7, 2021

A Dance of Firelight (and After the Fireworks)

Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
Castbox podcast player badge
Stitcher podcast player badge
Podchaser podcast player badge
iHeartRadio podcast player badge
PlayerFM podcast player badge
Podcast Addict podcast player badge
Castro podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge
Goodpods podcast player badge

What is it about fire that holds our fascination? Last weekend the clocks went back and in the span of one night darkness began to lap at the edges of our late afternoons. The encroachment of night leading the tide of winter into our daytimes can no longer be ignored and it is understandable that at this time of year we are so drawn to the image of an open fire. In this episode, with the help of the poet Robert Service, we explore the ways that fire can touch us so deeply emotionally, reawakening old memories and feelings.

Journal entry:

“5th November, Friday

A chill greyness has seeped into the landscape
 That silvered dawns
 And sunsets of fiery bronze 
 Cannot shift. 

COP26 started this week. 
 Twitter and newsfeeds are not good places to be. 

So I stand by the big oak
 Listening for the raven’s call
 And the windsong of geese.

Above me contrails flower the cobalt sky
 And, at my feet, 
 A clover leaf
 Laced with ice.                  

Episode Information

In this episode I read extracts from a number of poems by Robert W Service (1874-1958). These are:

The Ballad of One-Eyed Mike
The Lure of Little Voices
The Logger
The Song of the Campfire

There are a number of collections of his works. The one I have been using is Dan McGrew, Sam McGee and Other Great Service Poems published by Taylor (1987).

For more information about Service’s life and work, see: Robert W. Service.

For more information on research relating to the psychological and physiological effects of sitting by an open fire:

C.D. Lynn. (2014) ‘Hearth and Campfire Influences on Arterial Blood Pressure: Defraying the

Costs of the Social Brain through Fireside Relaxation’. Evolutionary Psychology 12(5). 983-1003.  


General Details

In the intro and the outro, Saint-Saen's The Swan is performed by Karr and Bernstein (1961) and available on CC at

Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence. 

Piano interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site. 

For pictures of Ericaand images related to the podcasts or to contact me, follow me on:

I would love to hear from you. You can email me at