Books

A Fire Burns by Kali Coles

Kali Coles is a 2019 finalist for the Shakespeare Selfie student writing challenge in the Grade 10 to 12 category.

2019 finalist: Grade 10 to 12 category

Kali Coles is a 16-year-old high school student from South River, Ont. (Submitted by Kali Coles)

Kali Coles is a finalist of the 2019 Shakespeare Selfie Student Writing Challenge. This annual writing competition challenges students to write a soliloquy or monologue in the voice of a Shakespearean character based on a prominent news, pop culture or current affairs event from the last year (April 2018 to April 2019).

Read the work of the 2019 Shakespeare Selfie finalists.

Coles, who attends Almaguin Highlands Secondary School in South River, Ont., wrote about California's wildfires in late November from the perspective of Macbeth's Macbeth.


Victims plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against 
Their deep damnation to convince the brain of such 
Horrid memories. Could this be a false creation?
A fatal vision from the heat-opposed brain?
A fire burns that summons thee to heaven, or to hell, 
And the earth has untied the winds to let them fight 
Even till destruction sicken. 

Paradise was swallowed by flames,
Where every man saw the earth's malice;
Blood hath been shed and the sight is
Torture of the mind, yet the story can overcome us 
Like a summer's cloud, without our special wonder. 
How could'st be? I see these flames still, yet I take the 
Present horror from the time, which now suits with it
With my meek yet undaunted words. 

The flames of hell stole a seeling night, 
And keep me pale. O, full of scorpions is my mind
To think of the Earth's bloody and invisible hand. 
The night's black agents to their prey did rouse to 
Impress nature with hell's flames and sent me into
My fit once again. Please, bring me no more reports. 
I cannot taint with fear fain. I will push these feelings 
Away dareful. To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, and 
I have supp'd full with horrors.

now