May 16, 2011

Summer Flames

She said we could! She said we could!

Mom said yes, so we rush to the fire pit.

Get some sticks! Get the paper! Find a match! Start the blaze!

We dash through feathery young-summer air.

Crumpled newsprint bleeds onto our hands

Three tiny matches gown the wads with fire

We cage them in with bark-crusted branches.

A fuzz of smoke curls from our umpteenth fire.

Get the books! Get the books!

We run inside and run back out,

Holding tight the math textbooks.

Squashed between their pages are:

twenty cups' worth of spilled tea,

a slabs' worth of smeared graphite,

and untold gallons of despairing tears.

We gather, panting, round the fire.

Holding Math 5, Algebra 1/2, Geometry, PreCalculus.

Staring at the flames that we have made.

We look at the books, we look at each other.

We picture the million problems inside our Books.

We've cried over, sulked upon, sobbed about, raced through, double-checked and re-corrected

each one.

We want to be rid of them.

Then we think of the ink on those pages

Fattening the hot feather smoke.

We picture each page curling black.

And every lesson crumpling dark.

And every problem eaten and lost forever.


Forever is a long time.

We look at the books, we look at the flames.

And we are sad.

And we don't know why.

We kick out the fire. We cool ash with water. The smoke is eaten by summer.

Carrying our books with benevolence,

We take them inside and put them away.

Because we are not book burners,

not even for PreCalculus.

And because summer feels too good for burning.


Pathfinder said...

*shudders and clutches favorite book protectively* I can't emagine burning a book. Not even Twilight... *shudders once again*

Squeaks said...

O.O I looooove this poem! Wow! Did you write this, whisper?


Faye said...

Wow very descriptive! Did you really burn your math books?

whisper said...

Pathfinder - Ultimately, we never could bring ourselves to burn one... although Twilight is tempting subject material. o_O

Squeaks - Indeed, I did. *sheepish smile* I'm so very happy that you liked it!

Faye - um, no, we never actually did. We talked about it and once we planned to do it, but then it somehow seemed too sad. So we never did.

Have you? o_O ;)


Faye said...

Nope, I've never burned my math books, but I'll admit that I've wanted to more than once.

I love how honest the poem is!

Anonymous said...


I like that a lot, Whisper. It makes me sad.

Mom said...

I really love this poem Whisper. I enjoyed it more the second time I read it. I love your writing style and they way you convey your thoughts in words.....Of course, I'm a bit partial. :-)

Jake said...

I would never burn a book.

However, I am planning on burning school papers from fourth grade [the dark year in which I lasted through public school and then quit for good] in the near future.

Quite poetic, spy. Perhaps that is why 'tis called poetry.

whisper said...

Faye - *nods* We of the Spy Clan well know the feeling.

Thank you! *bows*

Hark - I am honored. It makes me sad too. Thanks for commenting. :)

Mom - And thank you very much for reading it and commenting! Your encouragement means much to me. :)

Jake - Ah, so you are doing away with the last remnants of your Educational Dark Age. *nods solemnly* A worthy move of great symbolic significance. What were the main things you disliked about that year of public schooling?

Perhaps so. Perhaps so. >_>


Millardthemk said...

Glad to see this finally up on the site :) Very good stuff, I agree with all the comments so far.

I suppose I should be original, but since even Jesus quoted sources(Albeit basically Himself as he IS the Word), I think I will simply do the same.

I second Pathfinder, Jake, Faye, and Hark!

whisper said...

Thankythanky, Millard! And thanks much for giving me your input on it earlier. I changes several things you suggested but others I felt I wanted to keep the way they were, at least for now.

We have not spoken in big-heap great-much long time! This must soon be remedied. I will hunt you down, Millard ShiningLight Jones. You can run to the deepest darkest basement in these contiguous united states, and I will find you.