Poetry

The Fire in the Waste

A place.
My winters have been longer,
My hands more callused,
My hopes more scarred.

Envision expanses of endless white snow
In a land to’ard north beyond all that you know,
A cold so cold on land so bare,
A nightmare in white
Where neither winds nor change’ll dare.

In the stillness find a lonely tree,
Its twins far away from all you’d hope t’see,
Evergreen amidst the white,
As near to shelter as you could find
In this suffocating shroud of frozen night.

In this country there is no fire,
No love, no warmth, no sweet desire,
No progress and no regress,
No comfort in the cold,
No safe embrace nor healer’s caress.

The woman is here with me.
For years we’ve grasped the tree
And together we’ve felt life’s bitter taste.
Unexpectedly she turns and says,
“Tell me the mysteries of this waste.”

I stand,
Recite,
A fire ignites.

As I speak
I understand and see.
Thoughts form the words and the
Words morph the thoughts.
For the first time I see her,
I glimpse that it’s me and she.
The waste is but loneliness,
A contradistinction unto which
Love is made to gleam.
By destiny, fate, fortune, or circumstance
Brought to find one another,
To light twin sparks in parts
Unreached by snows or blights.

She does not see,
Night comes and day again,
Her heart resists.

It’s a strange phenomenon
To hope for something not understood,
To wish to light a fire across a void,
Through space,
And place in another an alien feeling.
“I understand,” she says, but she means the world,
The words I speak, not the feelings I feel.
Frustrated, I sit, and the end begins.
The nights grow long as hope grows weak.
The spark that was becomes a mote of failing light.
Time is long,
The world is cold.

Must it end as it began?
The cycles repeat for the mysteries deepen.
The fabric of the world is made of
Strands forever intertwined,
An ultimate enigma, never solved,
Each door opened reveals a myriad more,
A bewildering conundrum of secrets and riddles.
And so she asks again,
“Tell me the mysteries of this place,
The ones I know not, for the old,
The ones you’ve told before,
Those I puzzle over no more.”

I stand,
Recite,
My spark I hide.

I look to the horizon,
Away from the face I’m pained to see.
The fire inside is stifled,
All but tendrils now.
I hope no more for her flame to join my own.
I speak again and sing the song–
An interruption.
These words she knows
Having conjured them on her own.
“Move on, on and on, along,
These songs I know,
In thoughts I dreamed and saw
The words that changed the thoughts.
The mind conceives conceit and
Out and through it leaps,
Onto words it clings.
The words, in turn, impress their touch,
And stir and sway the theme itself
From whence they came.”

I feel the change, and
I turn from the sky to look in her eyes.
I look,
From bleary sun
To exploding stars.

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