Fire. It's the time of year that we light them. In our houses and in our gardens. November 5th, in the UK, is Bonfire Night, and fire becomes an entertainment.
Fire keeps us warm. It comforts. It can even, for some people, ward away danger. But fire destroys too - homes, land, lives. But it also purifies.
We can control fire to a certain degree, perhaps like the way we can only control our own passions and emotions to a certain degree, unless we're particularly self-contained. But does everyone have a breaking point? A point when the 'fire' will escape and engulf someone or something? A point when the 'fire' will clear the way forward, or destroy what is in its path.
Free write around 'Fire'. What are the emotions, images, memories, songs, phrases ... anything at all... that spring spontaneously to mind? Follow the thread of one that feels the strongest.
I look forward to reading your poems, and here's one of mine from my collection, Learning How to Fall:
It happened at the Turkey Farm.
Witnesses heard a woomph like someone
stepping smartly on a bag of air and when
they got there, found the charred remains
of cloth, some bones. And a man
in Minnesota had done it on his deck at home,
mid-morning, the temperature only 54
but the Budweiser in his glass was warm.
If she could do at will what all these people
did in error, she reckoned on a money-spinner,
all sorts of side-lines – self-help books like
How to Find the Warmth Within. She’d start
small, spend days imagining the glow
of an orange ball inside her chest. The weeks
focusing on the hairs along her arm until
she could feel and smell the heat, hear
a crack like a mosquito on an outside light.
She knew she was on a roll. Soon she’d be
hiring halls to accommodate the crowds.
She’d open with a nest of leaves transformed
to a smouldering pyre on her palm,
and build to her grand finale – the full
combust, walls racketing with applause,
the diminishing calls of Encore!