S  H  I  N  I  N  G     F  I  R  E


The night was warm and the stars were still and bright
When a sign came unlooked for across the valley
A star blazing red against the distant midnight hills
We found you at noon where you lay in the midsummer sun
The coals were cold and I thought you dead

Your hair like flowing flame, you are not like us
Strange and beautiful, felled by the blood-fire
The fever heat I can feel without touch
We brought you to the shaman's tent
He tended you and then we waited

Three days later you awoke to the smoldering sage
Three full moons and you could speak with us
Strong and curious, and working alongside all the while
Your spirit seemingly unquenchable
We named you Shining Fire and you smiled

For it seemed fire was your friend and guide
Gazing at the dancing light you would speak your wisdom
To those that asked or ventured near
You said that in the beginning all was forged in a great fire
And the end of days would pass away in all-consuming flame

I thought we knew the ways of fire
Though for us it was ever wayward and capricious
Seldom could we make it run just the way you could
In your hands it seemed to follow your very thought
You knew the fire-truth

By the firelight you revealed new knowledge
And your stories carried us aloft as sparks on the wind
You showed us fire-craft in the colors of the sky-bow
Steady as lamp-glow, or shimmering like the crystal sand
Whispering tongues of half-moon light, or thundering glance of sun

The pale smoke of years
Streaming behind
As our life-fires
Run all too quickly
Through the grass

So much like fire is your strange existence
Hair of flame now grey as the ashen tinkling coals
You have passed the sparks on to new torches
And though you never spoke of life's last-light
I wondered that you were not in the circle that evening

It seemed an age had passed since that first starry night
And then the sign came across the miles
A bright and shining fire against the unseen hills
I could not find you after searching long
The coals were cold and I knew you had gone


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David McNamee  March - April - May - June 2001
© 2001 All Rights Reserved