Today we went for a long walk in the Ardennes and came across a dead fire salamander. They are beautiful and mysterious creatures and, at least in my experience, rarely seen (you can read about their curious attributes here). Indeed, the last time I saw a fire salamander it was similarly dead, crushed by a vehicle of some sort. It inspired the following, published by Poetry Now in United in Words (2009, edited by Helen Davies, ISBN 978-184418-490-3):
The vined hills massed expectantly
As we left the field and headed
Down the track towards the stream.
Colour flashed in the rutted lane;
A crushed salamander, vividly dead,
Spread gut-strewn in a puddle.
The straggling blackthorns shrugged, as if to say:
‘You may have been able to walk through fire, my friend,
But you were no match for a tractor.’