When it’s dark, and there’s a chill to the air
the difference between surviving or not
could be as slight as finding a place where
you can escape from the cold. If a hot
blaze were found by someone who is nearly
frozen, that fire might very well be
that man’s salvation from death. So clearly,
it would be foolish if he said, “I see
that tending to those flames is one whom I
do not know, and therefore I choose to stay
away from that heat. Instead, I’ll sit by
myself over here, and for warmth I’ll pray.”
There is a cold that’s darker than the night
Come! Gather by the dancing flick’ring light
“Come Gather!” By the dancing, flick’ring light
of a small fire surrounded by wood
seating, a man calls to all within sight,
“Join me by my cheerful blaze. For why should
you be cold outside this circle, while I
have plenty of warmth to share?” Most of those
who hear the invitation wonder why
a stranger would summon them. They suppose
that it’s a trap, so hurry on their way.
A few, though, heed the call, and find that soon
they start to know others who chose to stay
and friendships grow under the smiling moon.
There’s comfort outside, beneath the Great Bear
With friends around, and a stump for a chair.
With friends around, and a stump for a chair
the flames become more than merely a place
to flee the cold, but also a spot where
we might discover who we are. A case
might be made that the luxuries which we
surround ourselves with do no more than hide
our true nature so that we cannot see
the truth of who we are. So set aside
what you do not need. Let friendship and flame,
story and song, be the catalyst to
self discovery. You won’t be the same
if you let yourself see yourself for you.
A chill darkness comes from lack of insight
Let the flames drive away the cold of night.
Let the flames drive away the cold of night
so that in comfort and joy we can share
the fire’s cheerful glow. Let us delight
in the friendships that first spark, and then flare
into existence as we talk and sing
together around this circle. While some
of these new relationships may not bring
lasting warmth, there are those that will become
a lasting flame to keep you warm throughout
your life. Those that last only a season
are of value, but those that last…Ah! Shout
for joy! They’re the ones who bring life Reason!
Some friendships may dim, but some will stay true
As the embers fade, and then glow anew.
As the embers fade and then glow anew
in a manner reminiscent of some
fiery creature’s beating heart…as a few
sparks leap skyward like they have really come
from the stars, and after a short visit would
return from whence they came…as the flames dance
as to some secret melody…we could
easily imagine that there’s a chance
that the flames are alive and wish to speak
to us, but in a tongue we do not know.
It’s easy to believe that if we seek
the flames’ wisdom, then our knowledge will grow
…as a log is placed to help the flames swell
…we find ourselves in a delightful spell
We find ourselves in a delightful spell
as we sit around the flames. The fire
causes reflection, yet freedom to tell
those aspects of ourselves that we tire
of keeping secret but have been afraid
to share. The blaze becomes a place where we
want to drop pretense. As metal is made
pure through refining of fire, maybe
it also purifies us. Even though
tall tales are often told, they don’t detract
from the honest camaraderie. We know
what to believe, and what is not fact
Even in fiction, the mood remains true
While those around speak a story or two
While those around speak a story or two,
listen silently and then take your turn
and tell one of your own. Whether it’s true
or fiction matters less than that it burn
with passion much like the fire around
which we sit. After all, this is a place
for adventures! Even the ancients found
the fire a good spot at which to grace
their children with history, legend, myth…
but listen closer and you’ll understand
that stories are more than what is told with
words, but by every thing that’s close at hand
The wind rustled leaves have stories as well
Even the flames seem to have tales to tell
Even the flames seem to have tales to tell,
but in a language to which we are not
privy. Their story is told in light, smell
of smoke, and sound. The fire is so hot
because of the passion with which it speaks.
We enjoy its heat, and are hypnotized
by its dance, but we don’t get what it seeks
to tell us, for its story is comprised
of elements that we can’t understand.
What grief must be felt by those flames as we
see and hear but never perceive the grand
epic that it would share with you and me.
We’ll never comprehend. Perhaps that’s why
after a time, the fire starts to die?
PART IX (Elegy)
After a time, the fire starts to die
down to embers. Eventually, those, too
fade from bright red to dull grey like some eye
that is losing sight. We could renew
the flames with more wood, but without a sound
we all seem to agree that this holy
time must soon come to an end. A profound
hush descends, as each one of us slowly
gives in to contemplation. Could it be
that silence is more sacred than that which
preceded it? Is it possible we
see clearest when the world seems dark as pitch?
When the light from the flames finally ends,
around the circle a silence descends.
Around the circle a silence descends.
There’s a feeling, sensed by all, that soon
this joyous time celebrated with friends
must draw to a close. Someone strums a tune
softly on a guitar. A soothing song:
perhaps to the flames, or maybe to those
with whom you would now gladly carry on
(though strangers an hour ago). Who knows
why the fire works in this way: to draw
people together from stranger to friend?
Perhaps, though, this circle has its own flaw:
we are reluctant to let the time end.
And so, it is with a most heartfelt sigh
One by one we bid each other goodbye
One by one we bid each other goodbye.
There are the hugs given to friends who are
heading to the airport from where they’ll fly
to some resort. They never seem too far
away, as we know that they’ll soon be back.
Harder, though, are those final farewells, said
to loved ones who have stepped beyond the crack
that separates this world from the next. Red
eyed from grief, it might be tempting to think
we’d be better off if we didn’t bare
our souls to that most temporary link
called friendship, and yet, how sad not to dare!
for though each life like each flame one day ends
we’re richer for the time we’ve spent with friends