I burned my little house of shame
today. A torch I built of pitch
and sprays of purple cone, their heads
grown black for having bloomed. I looked
around to see if every act
I’d once locked in was, of its own
volition, out. A few remained.

The flame burned high enough to light
my way through paths grown in of where
I’d run away and no one knew:
too busy polishing their knives and spoons
in case the pastor came for tea.

The flame burned hot enough to wake
the genius who outside our gate
would sleep curled like a nautilus.
His eyes lit up. You’ve grown, he laughed,
into a decent reprobate.

The flame burned pure enough that bones
of quickened poets spun above
the ashes, and the anarchist
whose shock of copper hair I love
let out a canto-levered yowl.
This space is yours, now make it new!

I burned my little house of shame today.


“Make it new.” Ezra Pound, on the act of poetry.

© Elaine Stirling, 2014
This beautiful image of a purple coneflower, post-bloom, comes from http://www.identifythatplant.com