This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be an ever-living Fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out.
– Herakleitos (Frag. 20, ed. Bywater) Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, p. 134. Quoted in the volume Two Fires (1955).
The Two Fires symbolise Judith’s twin passions, Arts and Activism.
The Two Fires also refer to her poem of that name, written with the memory of the confronting news of two cities incinerated in an instant, at the start of the atomic age.
Though written at a dark time and in a
rather dark mood, the poem contains images of life and renewal. It contrasts the death
epitomised by the bombs with the fragility of life in a green shady gully (with cascading ferns?), “bright falling fountains made of time, that bore through time the holy seed that knew no time“, and the fragility of the larger cycle of life, which is perpetuated by love.
As then, so now fire can symbolise both destruction and renewal, as our increasingly fraught summers remind us. Recognising the destructive potential, we choose to celebrate the capacity of fire to clear the way for green shoots and more vigorous life.