Friday, March 04, 2005

Fiery Connection

I found this gorgeous poem by Adrienne Rich at Poem Hunter. To me it stands as an alternative to the Clifton poem "fury,"in which a mother is forced to sacrifice her poetry to the red hot coals of a furnace. In Rich's "Burning Oneself Out," the speaker experiences a powerful connection with the burning logs in her wood stove, and describes the power of the senses to make us feel pulled out of time and joined with the thing we are observing. It is a transient but true experience.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Burning Oneself Out

We can look into the stove tonight
as into a mirror, yes,

the serrated log, the yellow-blue gaseous core

the crimson-flittered grey ash, yes.
I know inside my eyelids
and underneath my skin

Time takes hold of us like a draft
upward, drawing at the heats
in the belly, in the brain

You told me of setting your hand
into the print of a long-dead Indian
and for a moment, I knew that hand,

that print, that rock,
the sun producing powerful dreams
A word can do this

or, as tonight, the mirror of the fire
of my mind, burning as if it could go on
burning itself, burning down

feeding on everything
till there is nothing in life
that has not fed that fire

Adrienne Rich


PoeticMermaid said...

Fire can burn and provide warmth. A dangerous element, all consuming, and yet one that warms us when we are cold.

Thanks for the intro to Adrienne Rich.

Begalke said...

LOVE your blog!

Lucky Jackson said...

"a word can do this..."
Yes, this is the type of burning I experience. When words burn inside my head, until I find a way to quench the fire by forming them into something meaningful.

cj white said...

"Time takes hold of us like a draft..." I love this idea of time being the source of our fire. Without it, the fire starves, life suffocates. It also conjures images of burning too hot and furious, life rushes and becomes uncontrollable. Could spend a lot of time mediating on just this small piece!