On this particular night in May
You’ll light a fire
Out or in, it doesn’t matter
Set the ritual like this
Take the sticks the jackdaws left
In the middle shed as an act of revenge
(but that’s another story)
Add a teaspoon of kerosene
Toss a fistful of incendiary words
And crack a match. Crosshatch three
or four young spruce logs on the flames.
Then blindfold choose a talking log
And place on top.
Know that your entire future lies in choosing well.
Fake the confidence it takes to complete the gesture.
It gets easy after that. Night settles into orange, grey
And black. Rare and sacred on this particular night
Are the candles burning uniformly. The wind from the east
Is shy in our northwest promontory.
The talking log is slow to start and whatever was said to the rose
To coax her open must be more vigorous with wood,
But density’s intricate legacy is consoling.
Whatever voice whispered sweetly to the wind
That made her soften, sends me a loving message too.
In sibilance. Don’t sophisticate.
Suppose on this particular night
The log talks to the wall for an hour and
Won’t address you at all.
Laugh. Know we all need an audience
the talking log is teasing you.
Beg, entreat the log to prophesy.
Just when you’re ready to admit defeat
and study the illuminated wall,
look up as the branches of the ash tree
reach for the ink blue heavenly sky
above your head, watch as the heavens sparkle.
The Wisdom of My Mistakes
1 November 2012