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Sappho - Poem by James Arlington Wright

The twilight falls; I soften the dusting feathers,
And clean again.
The house has lain and moldered for three days.
The windows smeared with rain, the curtains torn,
The mice come in,
The kitchen blown with cold.


I keep the house, and say no words.


It is true I am as twisted as the cactus
That gnarls and turns beside the milky light,
That cuts the fingers easily and means nothing,
For all the pain that shoots along the hand.
I dust the feathers down the yellow thorns,
I light the stove.


The gas curls round the iron fretwork. the flame
Floats above the lace,
And bounces like a dancer stayed on air.
Fire does not rest on iron, it drifts like a blue blossom
And catches on my breath;
Coiling, spinning, the blue foam of the gas fire
Writhes like a naked girl;
Turns up its face, like her.


She came to me in rain.
I did not know her, I did not know my name
After she left to bed her children down,
To phone her husband they were gone asleep.
And she, lying, a pure fire, in the feathers,
Dancing above the ironwork of her bed,
Roaring, and singeing nothing.
She had not wound her arms about me then,
She had not dared.
I only took her coat, and smiled to hear
How she had left her purse and her umbrella
In the theater, how she was sopping cold


With the fall rain; and mine was the one light
In the neighborhood. She came to my gas fire
And lay before it, sprawled, her pure bare shoulders
Folded in a doze, a clear, cold curve of stone.


I only leaned above the hair,
Turned back the quilt, arranged the feet, the arms,
And kissed the sleeping shoulder, lightly, like the rain;
And when she woke to wear her weathered clothes,
I sent her home.
She floated, a blue blossom, over the street.


And when she came again,
It was not long before she turned to me,
And let her shawl slide down her neck and shoulder,
Let her hair fall.
And when she came again,
It did not rain.


Her husband came to pluck her like an apple,
As the drunken farmer lurches against the tree,
Grips the green globe not long beyond its bloom,
And tears the skin, brutally, out of the bark,
Leaves the whole bough broken,
The orchard torn with many footprints,
The fence swung wide
On a raw hinge.


And now it is said of me
That my love is nothing because I have borne no children,
Or because I have fathered none;
That I twisted the twig in my hands
And cut the blossom free too soon from the seed;
That I lay across the fire,
And snuffed it dead sooner than draft or rain.


But I have turned away, and drawn myself
Upright to walk along the room alone.
Across the dark the spines of cactus plants
Remind me how I go—aloof, obscure,
Indifferent to the words the children chalk
Against my house and down the garden walls.
They cannot tear the garden out of me,
Nor smear my love with names. Love is a cliff,
A clear, cold curve of stone, mottled by stars,
smirched by the morning, carved by the dark sea
Till stars and dawn and waves can slash no more,
Till the rock’s heart is found and shaped again.


I keep the house and say no words, the evening
Falls like a petal down the shawl of trees.
I light the fire and see the blossom dance
On air alone; I will not douse that flame,
That searing flower; I will burn in it.
I will not banish love to empty rain.


For I know that I am asked to hate myself
For their sweet sake
Who sow the world with child.
I am given to burn on the dark fire they make
With their sly voices.


But I have burned already down to bone.
There is a fire that burns beyond the names
Of sludge and filth of which this world is made.
Agony sears the dark flesh of the body,
And lifts me higher than the smoke, to rise
Above the earth, above the sacrifice;
Until my soul flares outward like a blue
Blossom of gas fire dancing in mid-air:
Free of the body’s work of twisted iron.


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Poems About Fire

  1. 1. Sappho , James Arlington Wright
  2. 2. The Fence Of Fire! , veeraiyah subbulakshmi
  3. 3. Fire And Air , gajanan mishra
  4. 4. Fire , Naveed Akram
  5. 5. Nalan 3.1 King Cobra's Gift , Rajaram Ramachandran
  6. 6. I Am Ash , RIC S. BASTASA
  7. 7. I Will Continue To Hold You In My Heart , OLAYEMI AYO
  8. 8. Looks Can Be Deciving , tony welburn
  9. 9. Wild Fire In Your Eyes , ENRIQUE ALBERTO HURTADO MINO ..
  10. 10. The Sky Is Crying , gajanan mishra
  11. 11. Wildfire , Vera Sidhwa
  12. 12. Fire, Fire, Fire! , krishna Manohar
  13. 13. Everyone's Tasting Fire , Maya Hanson (mye3)
  14. 14. The Canon's Yeoman's Tale , Geoffrey Chaucer
  15. 15. Its Name Is Love..... , RIC S. BASTASA
  16. 16. Fire , Brandon Cole
  17. 17. Reign Of Fire , Bhaskar Rabha
  18. 18. Fire Is Many Things , Ben Payton
  19. 19. Kolkata Burning , Ratan Bhattacharjee
  20. 20. Siren Of Fire , Tatianna Rei Moonshadow
  21. 21. Jug , Carl Sandburg
  22. 22. Fire Forever (Nafaka) , Miroslava Odalovic
  23. 23. Fire, The Universal.. , Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  24. 24. Life Born In Flame , Terence George Craddock (Spe ..
  25. 25. Everything Burns , BreOnna Schneck
  26. 26. Fire And Fire , gajanan mishra
  27. 27. Fire Brand - Judge , gajanan mishra
  28. 28. It's Name Is Love..... , RIC S. BASTASA
  29. 29. When The Mountain With All Its Peaks Are.. , Gert Strydom
  30. 30. Fire Flies Delight , Heather Burns
  31. 31. Once More Into The Fire , Danny Speicher
  32. 32. The Quiet Fire , SUSHANA VITTALDEV
  33. 33. Fire , The Princess is
  34. 34. Desirable Fire? , Blossom Mist
  35. 35. Love On Resin Setting Fire , Mark Heathcote
  36. 36. Only Fire , MOHAMMAD SKATI
  37. 37. Through The Eyes Of A Field Coronet (Epic) , Gert Strydom
  38. 38. Wood In Fire , gajanan mishra
  39. 39. When The Mountain With All Its Peaks Are.. , Gert Strydom
  40. 40. Her Sparkling Eyes , Ace Of Black Hearts
  41. 41. Fire, To Be Extinguished , Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
  42. 42. My Heart Burns With The Fire , Aldo Kraas
  43. 43. The Lament Of The Last Train Whistle , Patrick White
  44. 44. There's A Fire In My Veins- But It's Not.. , Patti Masterman
  45. 45. I See Fire , Moses Samandar
  46. 46. House Of Fire (Lyrics) , Satan's Sibling
  47. 47. Fire , Mthoko Mpofana
  48. 48. Fire Alliteration , michael issac palmer
  49. 49. Rain In The Deep , Ovison Nita
  50. 50. Geoffrey Chaucer, The Knight's Tale, Par.. , Forrest Hainline
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