So many have looked my way: once I was beautiful, the pride of your family, but now my neck is twisted and my skin no longer pristine: no longer that blushed ivory you so loved when we first met. My waist is no longer smooth, my imperfections now show, my skin has blemishes and worst of all my body is distorted with all the wear and tear of my working days.
I see your shoes warming by the fire, your coats hung up to dry, and the smiles you give freely to each other. I hear the chatter and the jokes shared. I see how you all laugh when happy, how you are downcast when sad. I say nothing if you curse and swear, or when you ignore my chatter, yet still I provide for all, hot water for a new born baby, or a warm drink for the bereaved.
Day after day I sit here whilst the flames of an inferno devour me. I am now blacker than the coal hole, yet your spirits I lift with my ever flowing spout. I have nourished you in so many ways, from hot bathes to countless cups of hot tea. Many have visited my hearth from Bernard the Muffin man, to Geoff wanting his collar turned, each looked at me. Each desired my warming gift, yet do any of you really care about me, for only Sam the tinker offered to restore me to health.
Will you care or remember me when I am done, consigned to that furnace that awaits me if I am lucky. Or will you leave me to decay in agony as nature rots my body and takes my memories. Will you remember me when I am gone, will you recall the sound of my chatter when I am ready to meet your demands.
So much will I miss; the toast so regularly burnt by the hot coals, the tea and condensed milk sweeten with extra sugar, the smell of resin oozing from timber and the roasting sweet chestnuts. The crackling and spitting coals which threatened to jump the fender and incinerate the rag rugs. All are memories that I hold dear.
Now the embers fade as they are covered with slack, and soon even they will be no more, for the fire must go, so that Jimmy Soden the chimney sweep may do his duty. I recall all, even the flow of cold water that allowed me to be at the centre of your household. Will you remember me when the hearth is cold?