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“It is a secret which every intellectual man quickly learns, that beyond the energy of his possessed and conscious intellect he is capable of a new energy (as of an intellect doubled on itself), by abandonment to the nature of things…If in any manner we can stimulate this instinct, new passages are opened for us into nature; the mind flows into and through things hardest and highest, and the metamorphosis is possible.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Poet”

(The first two installments of the 3-part narrative poem, “Refunding Fire” can be found here and here.)


So you think you know the secrets of desire,
mastered all the words & moves designed to capture;
or perhaps you’ve given up, made way for rapture
of a lesser kind: I’ll eat and buy, no new fire
awaits, so what’s the point? From passion I retire,
yet even so you check the horoscopes, in case
the Universe has spared a crumb or two, inquire
through proper channels, might you find for me a place?

Expand your range! Each day, toss out the rhyme schemes of
yesterday, and spring anew. The funds to fire all
you dream and hope, they come by seeing first. Recall
what’s yours, not others’. Be the object of great love
by sweet Creation. Disregard below. Above
is where the fun of life begins, begins again.
Three things I’ve learned: that push does not rely on shove;
there’s no such thing as wrong & goodness never ends.

Renewing fire from the fund that never dries
like drug-free magic carpet rides will help you soar,
will guide you through Prometheus’s door.
From both ends of the telescope you may apprise
by feeling thoughts of joy, you’ll entertain surprise.
But surely none of this excessive pep is new!
You brought it with you on the day you came, bright eyes,
and through these octaves, you’ll remember what to do.

Begin by disaccommodating thoughts of lack,
replace them in this moment with the possible—
a teeny crack, to gods is fully plausible.
Tend every tiny evidence that you’re on track
as if the Universe now had (it does!) your back.
A forethought of the good is mightier than gold;
give favour to abundancy and watch it stack.
You ARE the star, the greatest story ever told!


The octave is an eight-line stanza with rhyme scheme that’s lived in written form since troubadour times, and probably hails from oral pre-history. French, Italian, English all have their versions. I selected the Spanish “copla de arte mayor”, with 12 syllables per line and a traditional rhyme scheme of abbaacac. “Copla” can mean stanza or popular folk song. You’re meant to sing and dance to them!

© Elaine Stirling, 2013
Image of fireworks from