Thursday, August 7, 2008


So what have I learned? What has spinning fire taught me?

I’ve learned not to trespass at nuclear facilities. They grab you and put you in a cage in back of a white pickup and go through all your stuff. It’s not usually good if they find kerosene and chains and rags. I just stay well clear of the military as a general rule since then.

I’ve learned how fire can draw people in, the illusion of its control. Yet at any moment a wad of flaming cotton could set loose into them. And it’s amazing how many people ask if they can try. I usually say, sure, but that’s sometimes gone badly -- especially for one girl in a nylon dress at a Cadillac dealership I set up outside of. The authorities showed up that night too. Just the cops this time though. Not the nuclear henchmen.

I’ve learned the recklessness of fire and that flames themselves do not burn, only a chemical/physical reaction. Fire. The thing that brings smoke, glass and metal; the first sign of war; the last gift of the dead unto the living. Fire. Eternal as every inferno on a beach and every small candle flickering in a window, for every catastrophic explosion a spark going out, the only element that keeps us together and our greatest threat. What I’ve learned from fire.

I’ve learned that you’ve got to expect things to go wrong. For every moment of peace there is the striking of a match to scorch the earth. For every part joy there is a part of suffering and for what seems a sure thing there is a leap of faith. So fire has taught me something of life and now when I meet with goodness I remember sorrow, when I see the brightest light I remember a searing darkness. And I have learned that a life without fire is like a year without summer, and that if you dance with her, or near nuclear reactors, you’ve got to expect to get burned.

What I’ve learned from fire.



Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

==================Robert Frost===============


Debra Kay said...

Control, in general, is an illusion. Either illusion, or so fleeting it might as well be.

Consumed by flames or transformed by flames? What a difference one word makes.

American Hill BIlly said...

I liked that. To me it represented the metaphorical sense of life. The yen, and yang.

I don't think getting hauled off at a nuclear plant trying to explain yourself was to much fun!

Peace and Freedom

Enemy of the Republic said...

I always loved that poem and I like even more how you work with the images. BTW--I left you 2 comments--please know that I don't support the DP; I was trying to analyze all perspectives.

Bobbb - Citizen of Earth said...

Fire lives in me
More than most I expect
And I am still drawn
Though sometimes burned

We serve
Each other
And I

Each the purpose
Of the others existance

Until one of us

Goes out


human being said...

as any other natural phenomenon, fire is so true to itself... always appearing as it is...

and again as any other phenomenon giving us the chance to learn to be true to ourselves...

whether it's a friend or a threat is hidden in our free will... not in its definite fate...

this is what i've learned from my journey through the fire...
this is what i learned from 'what you've learned from fire'...

love Robert Frost's poem

one of the things i loved to read while passing through fire:

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
William Blake -- The Tyger

BBC said...

What has spinning fire taught me?

I'm pretty sure that it would teach me to not fuck with spinning fire.


Hopper said...

Hi all... I'm not usually the type to apologize for being absent... blogging without obligation and all... but I've been up to my eyeballs in alligators here lately doing an editing project and getting ready for school to start in a couple weeks...




human being said...

happy to hear form you
wish the best in whatever you do
be well

Fern said...

Aye aye..glad you checked in. Glad all is well.

You are usually so HERE. I was beginning to wonder.

DeLi said...

this is truly a spot on to my current days

Honour said...

jon, if you haven't already - you should check out "Stranger than Fiction" a short story by Diane Schoemperlen ... reminded me of what you'd like to explore with your project -- what is fiction, representation of reality, intersect between those worlds and the role of the narrator ... check it out! best wishes with your prep for everything

Lynn said...

Yes, we play with's called taking chances...but just be careful...not to get burned.

Reading the news today makes one wonder if we are all going to go up in a big red ball of fire sometime soon. I sure hope not.

Good luck with your school preparations. You teach writing, right? Lucky students.

Anonymous said...

Hi ,

I was reading ur blog posts and found some of them to be very good.. u write well.. Why don't you popularize it more.. ur posts on ur blog ‘A Blade of Grass’ took my particular attention as some of them are interesting topics of mine too;

BTW I help out some ex-IIMA guys who with another batch mate run where you can post links to your most loved blog-posts. Rambhai was the chaiwala at IIMA and it is a site where users can themselves share links to blog posts etc and other can find and vote on them. The best make it to the homepage!

This way you can reach out to rambhai readers some of whom could become your ardent fans.. who knows.. :)


human being said...

crows miss their friends so soon...

best wishes for you...

YogaforCynics said...

Fire can draw people in...yes, I'm told that the word for "hearth" in Latin or Greek also means "focus"--I've been passing that on for years and really need to look it up one of these days....

Your fire circles are wonderful (actually, at first I thought of the inside cover--back in the days when their were such things) of the Rolling Stones' album Black and Blue--though you do a bit more with the concept and medium....