As I Watched the Fire…

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It was a crazy weekend. We bought the last of the furniture, which means my apartment now smells like Swedish pine and lingonberry.

After a month of sleeping on the floor, my son got his bunk bed and after a year and a half in boxes I got a little cabinet for all my art supplies. Thus, the weekend was full of detailing the growing list of bunk bed rules and unpacking beautiful things.

I opened the box of all the sketchbooks I’ve had since junior high. I took out the files containing my years of illustrations for the Sunday school curriculum and the children’s reader I did. And I discovered the stack of poems I wrote in the year after my Dad died.

I don’t write much poetry, but I get on kicks. I enjoy their density. I find I use them when my feelings are most compact and undefinable, much like those little foam creatures confined to capsules and awaiting bath time.

In this analogy, poetry would be the warm bath that releases you, opens you up and details your edges.

So, here is a dense little piece I had forgotten about. It reminds me well of that seeming interminable time. If you’ve ever experienced sorrow, I’m sure you will understand.

“As I Watched the Fire”

Oh! If I had a power tonight it would be this,
To send out my sorrow into the flames,
To lick and burn some other chimney,
Save my throat,
To consume some other material,
Save my spirit.
Then, I would watch it burn down to its predictable end,
To finish and be done, once and for all,
Left cold after its long hot work.
And all the concentrated efforts of my sorrow’s journey,
Would be accomplished in one short evening,
As I watched the fire.

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