The Dorset Fire Tower Poem

By Martin Avery

A poem should begin in delight,

they say, and end in wisdom. Yes,

wisdom follows delight like

Night follows day. In Dorset,

the night sky is darkest and the

nights are longest in the wintertime.

All the rest of the time it is

hot hot hot, just like Jamaica, but it’s

not not not so well advertised and

I’ll tell no lies.

We don’t want to tell the world,

we want to keep it secret.

We keep it to ourselves, but

when it comes to a secret

I just can’t keep it.


I told some people, though,

just a few that I know

that I was going to go

do a poetry thing in

Dorset, and you know what

they wanted to tell me?

They said “Dorset is in

Muskoka, yo, so you should

read that poem, you know,

that one called

How to Make Love In

A Muskoka Chair, up there.”

They said, “You know what

they’re famous for, and it’s not

just Robinson’s General Store.”


They said, “You should write a poem about

making love in the fire tower.”

The Dorset Fire Tower

— I thought that was my little secret!

But two dozen people suggested it

and you know what that means.

They’ve all done it!

It makes you wonder

what kind of power

does the Dorset Tower

have to fire out

imaginations and libido?

So many people claim they

climbed all those tower stairs

and made love up there

as the artists say ‘en plein air.’


I’m thinking it’s some kind of

sport for young folks, because

I’m sure you’ve heard the old jokes

about the woman who tells her

old man, “I want you to

run upstairs and

make love to me.”

And the old guy says,

“Make up your mind, dear.”


But when we were younger

we ran up those tower stairs

like there was a fire up there!


Sigmund Freud is long dead,

but he once said ‘a cigar is just a

cigar – sometimes,’ and so

sometimes a fire tower is just a

phallic symbol.

Maybe I’m far too simple, but

I think that what this place is

famous for is not the landscape,

or the view of Muskoka lakes.

It is the tower up on top of that

big round mound of granite bedrock

that makes people talk.


It’s all about that scenic lookout tower.

It has a mysterious power

to make people think about


That’s why people climb it

in all kinds of climate

and at odd hours when

you’re not supposed to

be up there, and they don’t care

if everybody knows about it.

They say, “Oh yeah, the Dorset

Fire Tower – Been there and

done that,” and they get this

grin like a certain sin

might have been committed

up there.


I’m not sure where

the wisdom is

in this poem here, but

having written it, now I know

you know and we all know what Dorset is all about. So

I’m just stating the obvious.

It delights me that some people

are oblivious to the

wisdom that unites

all the rest of us.


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