Poetry Friday: Fire

October 29th, 2010

I have to admit that whenever we receive one of our new books from the printer, the first thing I look at are the acknowledgments. It’s interesting to see who gets mentioned, who doesn’t, what and who inspired our authors as they worked on their book.

So it was with Ranu Bhattacharyya’s book, The Castle in the Classroom. In her acknowledgments I found a passage from this great poem Fire, by Judy Brown. So I thought I’d share with you all on this Poetry Friday. Enjoy!

Judy Brown
What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

Entry Filed under: Poetry Friday

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Blythe  |  October 29th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    This poem is excellent–and true. I spent a lot of time laying fires whe I was a kid, so I recognized the truth. Now I need to consider how that truth plays out metaphorically, with other sorts of fire. Thank you for posting it.

  • 2. Mary Lee  |  October 31st, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Good to remember about the “spaces between.”

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