The beast of smoke and fire has come to
choke the fresh life from our daughter's

I see it clearly upon her neck, claws
clutching at Obelia's throat...
... and Vanessa exhausted - unknowing!

'twas not a thing in reality, 
but a pain, a pang, a fear... 
and the force of stress that 
raises it now.
Lightscape Editor's note: We understand that Larry had been trying to give up smoking during Vanessa's pregnancy!
For had I not, in all these months, fought it invisibly for the sake of my daughter's future. 

I gathered strength and purpose, 
became a calm and airless void 
within an ETNA gasp of polluntant death... 

I worked quietly, 
almost blindly in the smoke, 
to secure my new-born child. 

I carried, dragged, and stumbled with my beloveds down the mountain towards the sea, away from the larva flows and the choking fumes...

Now and then the smoke would break for a moment and I could see from my vantage point on the ridge, the larva - engulfing houses further down the slopes. A red, oozing, river - which one day will be solid rock - stole back man's constructions and froze them into the earth.
It was only when we reached the sea  and clean air... when I lay them both down... that I first saw Obelia, my darling child, clearly - and realised there was something tragically wrong...

Copyright Vanessa Summers & Larry Legg 1998

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