Fire Ode Variations

Tim Storrier, Blazeline

[Another poem from my latest book The Post-Man Letters & Other Poems at Picaro Press, Warners Bay NSW:]

Fire Ode Variations

Wolle die Wandlung. O sei für die Flamme begeistert…
(Want transformation. O be for the flame enthused…)
– Rainer Maria Rilke, ‘Sonette an Orpheus’, 2 xii


O poplar candles, autumn’s Rilke,
faux-Tuscan columns of pure flame

no tempera and egg yolk could paint
Annunciations among

when confronted by our implacable
Antipodean god exploding

eucalypts into instant infernos
made of geology, greed,

drought dropping from the sky
like napalm, sin, stuff

we wage war with
exploring our own hells

in our small blue pearl
strung on a fine thread

of air between two molten suns,
one inside itself,

wise skins of air, water, earth
warding off the madness

of their cosmic decay, a madness
that informs our hearts,

the anger that eats us up,
topples tyrants, walls,

the sex that eats us up
and ecstasies our spring off

into other, the gutsy aggro
of incisor rip and molar grind…

yes a cleaner of vermin, hurt and hurting
healer of hurts, the pain

smouldering fire in cells severed
by the surgeon’s knife

cutting you free
from growth to grow again

into the long and dying flame
you shall be and are

like luteous water flowing upwards
into lost and fiery sky


Fire, we breathe fire, like poets words,
a fir tree, a lion’s mane spits flames
like a woman’s hair flowing
its long rivers of sun. Cover that hair!

shout the stern men, the eagle, gun,
book worshippers, for it shines future
and freedom’s flow even as it makes
the torches glow beneath their robes

their old ways now burned down
by knowledge, advertising,
and not too soon. The fires
of transformation are upon them

as they tote their fiery words, holy
bombs. Their dead fear’s fires are no match
for the fires of the hearth and sex
where sly, kind kindling kindles birth.


tongues of fire may you descend on tongue-tied poets
once we’ve lost all faith in life, the subtle alchemy
of our wanting lives that begin and end with fire

may mercury fill our eyes like mirrors till we see
ourselves in the world’s dark glass, a crucible burning
all single things back into a molten dreaming One

may your flames open our hard brains like lightning
ripping waiting earth, our frosted furrows now
supplicants to the cellular wisdoms of sun and moon

then breathe in Hermes like fish breathe water, a fire
mind that knows no space or time but flying, patient
waiting for the shattering contractions of the inspired word.


~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on October 3, 2010.

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