Allow a stout red candle to burn
until its flame glows deepin the candle’s hollow.
The room in which it burnsmust be cluttered with old books,
their spines dry and crookedlike that of gray men
and their stories shouldbe seasoned with magic,
the kind that risesfrom a wizard’s pipe
or flutters between the wingsof fairies on a midsummer’s eve.
Of course, the candle fills the room
with a sweet fragrance and moonlight,
just enough to birth a shadow,should etch the room
through a window openedno more than needed to festoon
the dark with an unpleasant chill.
Then, if you wish it, in the candlelight,
on a small stool in the room’s corner,
you’ll see him, a troll with eyes as bright
as sunlight and black lips curled into a smile.
And if cakes are baking and a kettle’s voice
announces it’s time for tea, the troll
may stay, if kindly invited, and sing
you a song, if the cakes are to his liking.
S. Thomas Summers, Vernon