Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Last Fire Of Winter

Fire
The Last Fire of Winter


burns in the hearth. The last
strabismic look from the demon's eye
wanders in its heart,

where jumps and lurches my little man of fire;
the blue grey imp that dances
on the crackle of eaten logs.
He was there when I made dinner

making a display of himself, only a devil's hellbrat,
cackling foolishly at the dogwhistle silence of
vegetable agony as I peeled aubergines and salted their flesh.
He doesn't know my unspoken name or all the secrets

buried beside my bones, my graveyard face,
beneath the coffin boards of my floor. 
Still, he smiles that same
laudenum smile as his comely master,

happy to be the go-between
who brings the goatskin missal
where my incubus writes me
all the brimstone news from hell.

But he’s not the one who can read the answer
I throw on the flames that hold back morning,
where the last fire of winter
burns in my heart.



March 2012

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub




Image: Fire, by smenzel on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License

45 comments:

  1. Hi Joy--this has special significance when one sees the posting at 2 a.m. (Ha.)

    A wonderful mix of incantation and homely--I love especially the dogwhistle silence of the poor drawn and quartered aubergine! Everything is alive there, and better watch out! k.

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    1. Yes, the significance that it took me four freakin hours to get it right. ;-) Thanks for reading, K, and yes--watch out.

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  2. Since Hillman wedgies (sic) into these conversations, first this: His "blue fire" is the witchlight of the darkened soul, a dappled light, both fair and foul: animating these final flames of winter. I read love but more Amor than Eros, downward-burning, enslaving more than envigorating, the imp's seed spawning bitter fruit, cast from a distant land far more frozen than mere blue yarbles. Poetry needs this burning man, else how else carve out and name the hallows of psyche which softer ambients can only keep the abyssal door locked and chained? The "goatskin missal" is inked with sterner stuff than indigo -- blood, tears, brimstone -- but it's still holy and voices the dark seasonal half of soul. You charm the spirit back into the ashes - winter nights begone -- but I suspect like me you'll miss the long nights come the burning days ahead. A great seasonal page-turner, Hedge. - Brendan

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    1. Well, in a sense, we'll be trading one fire for another, with the burning days relieved by long sultry insomniac revelings under the stars. The dance of the wounded psyche struggles toward life and beauty as much as it's shaped by pain and loss, and the fire keeps its secrets well. Thanks for your insights, as always, B--they shine a light.

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  3. dang...this is awesome....first you get the award for 'best use of a word i did not know' this morning....strabismic...what a cool word....

    and def dont let him know your name...that is surely trouble, but maybe content to let him cackle in the flames and bring those misives of hell...and burn burn as you stare into that last fire, your pen scratching scratching on the paper...

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  4. Too many fantastic favorite lines to count. I enjoyed the progression of this poem down to the last two splendid ones.

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  5. somehow made me think a bit of rumpelstilzchen...those fairy tale guy who danced around that fire and knew would lose when they know his name... but what gave me shivers was...
    as I peeled aubergines and salted their flesh.
    He doesn't know my unspoken name or all the secrets....wow..

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  6. it's good he doesn't know your name, he's not supposed to know your name. i like how you use all that devilish vocab

    sonnet 36

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  7. happy to be the go-between
    who brings the goatskin missal
    where my incubus writes me
    all the brimstone news from hell.

    You do this genre so well! I always want more---

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  8. I love more and more your earthy, almost, dare I say it, medieval poetry. Maybe not medieval in form, but the subject matter just reminded me of someone in an old cottage, fire burning in the hearth , whilst outside the spring approaches. Maybe this is a poem about change, and that sometimes its hard to leave things behind, such a the mystical fire devils that dance I between logs. Your language is just stunning....had me lapping up each and every line. Awesomeness

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    1. Thanks, Stu--I don;t mind being medieval at all--and there is definitely an element of change in here, and the loss change brings as it burns old things and selves away. Good eye.Appreciate your insights.

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  9. strabismic- I didn't know that word either. I like how you brought the flames to life...the blue grey imp that dances
    on the crackle of eaten logs.

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  10. I parried that strabismic stare from the demon and looked at him cross-eyed...he was offended, as most people are if you just look at them cross-eyed, and he got the hell out of there...so I could warm my buns by the fire with no fear of them getting bitten.

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    1. I don't know--this diet I'm on is making me pretty eclectic in my eating habits--all I'm thinking of now are hot crossed buns.(mmmm)

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  11. I loved this. I always feel a little sad when real fires have to stop and I wonder each day which will be the last. I spend more time looking at the flames.

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  12. All the brimstone news from hell was a wonderful line. The poor demon just getting stared at, no wonder he is angry.

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  13. Oh this sent a cold shiver up my spine - you are such a masterful imagist

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  14. I totally relate to the open fire and its 'aliveness'. Late at night the only, perfectly adequate and fiesty company. (I'm loving that my new computer that will look up words with a two finger click no matter what you throw at me.)

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  15. the last fire - great idea hedge, it reasonates and endures as idea and image... i'm working my way thru game of thrones (its so moorish, like crack) and theres not an episode goes by when an axe,bow raven or imp doesnt make my mind cross over to something ive read here...summers coming... some people are happy... others prefer the dark - i'm not smiling :I

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  16. The imagery in this is spectacular! I can feel you have really thought this through superbly to the last detail! Wonderfully descriptive, enjoyed very much :)

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  17. Your piece pulled at my insides....striking that common chord ancient communal stories resonate. This is damn fine writing. It keeps pulling me back to it. I appreciated the comments about Hillman. Blue Fire lit a fire in me back in the college days. Time to dust off that tome.

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  18. Oooooh, love it. Folk tale, folk magic, folk poetry ... thank you for casting this bewitching spell.

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  19. woo brilliant stuff here Hedgewitch! it's wonderfully ominous, but not in an obvious way, in a simmering way - it's very noire-ish - brilliant lines throughout but a few that stood out for me reading through - "the blue grey imp that dances
    on the crackle of eaten logs." - "as I peeled aubergines and salted their flesh.
    He doesn't know my unspoken name or all the secrets" - the juxtaposition here worked so well - and possibly my favourites - "buried beside my bones, my graveyard face,
    beneath the coffin boards of my floor. " - eesh! nice!

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  20. Another word I learn. Hope God makes note of all words one learns after age 75--grin! Whew!

    Hey this is SERIOUS poet-stuff...I mean this is a "read at least 3 times" piece, Hedgewitch! Thanks for sharing it.

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  21. I always admire your method and way with words in poetry, this has many great threads that makes reading it quite tangible along the way. Beautifully penned ~ Rose

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  22. this really spoke to me, i have had a long, ongoing affair with the little man of fire...

    i loved everything about this.

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  23. Very cool. Love the magical/mystical references, the spell casting, the incubus, imp- lots of cool elements in here. Another great write Hedge. Really enjoyed. Thanks

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  24. Love the flow and sound and I can so picture this scene...feel this scene. The inner dying the outer dying before spring.

    My fav lines:
    "He doesn't know my unspoken name or all the secrets

    buried beside my bones, my graveyard face,
    beneath the coffin boards of my floor."

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  25. Rich lore, language and lyrical flow. I especially love the stanza about aubergines, such a gorgeous word, and how quietly but lushly they succumb to the poet-cook's wielding of fire.

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  26. "where the last fire of winter
    burns in my heart."

    ooooooooh! i LOVE this poem and the last lines!

    and aren't aubergines of all sizes, shapes and colors the most gorgeous vegetables on earth?

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  27. Love some of this imagry..."devil's hellbrat"...peeling aubergines and salting their flesh"...even that sounds witchy..Love this poem, Hedge!

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  28. such freedom on your last lines... nice

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  29. And here I am looking forward to the fires of Winter, and wondering what exactly I'll be inviting to my hearth...This is a rich read.

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  30. I don't think you're capable of writing a single boring sentence. Each one shows careful work, turned and polished until they crackle like the fire they describe. (Lame simile alert on my part!)

    Something here refuses to give in to grayness and ultimate rot. That something reaches out and burns itself on purpose, because what's vital and alive is in it. The speaker in the poem would be lonely without that hellish little messenger.

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  31. only a devil's hellbrat

    .. you always throw something wonderful to ignite the blaze.. this was it this time.. for me.

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  32. I'm really dying to call someone a "devil's hellbrat" now! What a fantastic phrase! I love how you put words together in such descriptive and magical ways!

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  33. The little fire god may keep you stoked, but your answers are your own. Keeping the fire alive in your heart is a great finale here, starting out as it did with the crackling demon in the hearth. This is full of mood--and it contrasts the mundane with the sublime: I'll never eat another eggplant without feeling guilty. Full of mood and a catalyst to being contemplative. This was a treat from first to last.

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  34. I agree that this has so much material that simply sinks its teeth into my soul and won't let go. Your ability to make the moment of anxiety so real, so material, it's threatening that line between fantasy and the real that I usually believe I know how to deal with. This is very cool from an enjoyment factor, appealing to that disposition in my psyche that likes to be scared. But your work has a more existential depth to it than most horror stories except perhaps Poe. I am fascinated by this since it has implications for how easily we humans are always willing to take the for granted way we see the world. Your work upsets that normal order, and rightly so I believe, because it shows how much of our conventional world is a compromiae set up to forestall the terror of existence and its choices.

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  35. Fascinating visuals you have painted with your words. Perhaps I should feel fear at words like demon and incubus, but truly I just like the observations and descriptive word choice! Nicely done.

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  36. my graveyard face... my unspoken name... the last fire of winter burns in my heart... the secret secrets shine so bright inside.

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  37. This is just too amazing.

    Each one of your poems really cause me to stop
    concentrate
    and read carefully,
    and there is always a payoff.

    The images here collide
    and transform
    and then finally sting;
    excellent.

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  38. wow, a way with words.
    (had to look up strabismic)
    interestingly devilish. I like the use of the devil’s hellbrat.

    Great Last Fire piece.

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  39. There is a distance, an acceptance in this poem....with the usage of devil, devil's hellbrat (I have one of those....). You are comfortable with your company, and that is what comes through to me so well....there isn't a jumbled word, or an awkward sentence, nor a displaced sentiment. You so well, give us an inner glance at the inner landscape, and your imagery doesn't stumble.

    That pix at the top is PERFECT for the poem.

    Lady Nyo

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  40. Really really enjoyed this poem, hedgewitch. There's an other-wordly quality that resonates.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg