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):

Crushed Salamander

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.’