Fire

Prometheus stole it, and so began...
To the ancients... modern man,
Not begun in sin, but fire.
All passions, hatred, love, desire,
All thought, all being, fear and yearning...
To the ancients... seemed a burning.
All life’s tempest, coil, and gyre
A perfect metaphor of fire.
Even language seems a free mix
Of fire suffix and fire prefix:
Dance, bird, brand, arm,
Sale, place, works, alarm,
Department, door, drill, brick,
Break, brigade, cracker, stick,
Eater, engine, ball, plug,
Man, fly, hydrant, bug,
Marshall, side, wood, fight,
House, trap, station, light,
Extinguisher, pit, proof, cease,
Wild, ant, water, grease,
Kit, starter, brush, bon,
On, and on, and on, and on.
Feeling flameproof once you’re hired?
Nothing’s flameproof, friend. “You’re fired!”
Rising from fire, so we descend,
Cremated in a fiery end,
Or fire “escape” by immolation,
As Hindu wife finds transmutation
Falling on her husband’s pyre,
Transported to the gods by fire.
Fire ceremonies of the Sioux
Consume the old and bring the new.
The fire wheel keeps on turning;
But is it progress or just churning?
Pele, goddess of fire and wind,
Wrung by passions without end,
Stirs the seas and hurricanoes
And dwells in fiery volcanoes,
Voracious love among her powers
Attracting lovers she devours.
Creation, destruction, maelstrom, Samsara
Block achievement of Nirvana.
And the wise, Zen master’s take?
From this nightmare we must WAKE!
If fiery life has us in thrall,
Wake an aversion TO IT ALL.
Fired by ego, fear, desire?
The Buddha’s answer: quench the fire.