Vernon Scannell


Incendiary - Poem by Vernon Scannell

That one small boy with a face like pallid cheese
And burnt-out little eyes could make a blaze
As brazen, fierce and huge, as red and gold
And zany yellow as the one that spoiled
Three thousand guineas' worth of property
And crops at Godwin's Farm on Saturday
Is frightening---as fact and metaphor:
An ordinary match intended for
The lighting of a pipe or kitchen fire
Misused may set a whole menagerie
Of flame-fanged tigers roaring hungrily.
And frightening, too, that one small boy should set
The sky on fire and choke the stars to heat
Such skinny limbs and such a little heart
Which would have been content with one warm kiss
Had there been anyone to offer this.


Submitted by Andrew Mayers


Comments about Incendiary by Vernon Scannell

  • (9/24/2018 5:45:00 PM)


    Read this in school aged 12.Thanks so much for posting! Heartbreaking and so visual. Does anyone know a Scots poem, The Lost Collie, or one about ayoung West Indian immigrant girl on a cold grey day, called either The or A Newcomer? I lost all the poems I'd carefully written out as a child when my parents moved and can't find most of my favourites through Google. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: metaphor, fire, kiss, red, sky, heart, tiger, star



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  9. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]