“Falling Fire”

Each time it seemed to me that fire fell—
And to my eyes bright glory seemed to shine—
On some young woman I’d begun to know,
I knew from whence the glory always came—
For glory in a human face and form
Is borrowed, mere reflection from above—
And knew my right response—as always, love—
But not which kind of love was asked of me.
(I listed, once, the different sorts of love
That I could name, and counted seventeen.)
But after countless lines of secret verse,
And as the years went by, events made plain
That I’m to be to each a brother, friend—
And though, when with them, I must overflow
With joy and gratitude, and, when they’ve gone,
I eagerly pray blessing on their heads,
I still bewail, lament, my loneliness
And ask of God: Who shall my helpmate be?
And when shall I be ready to be hers?

I wrote this poem late last year, probably in the contemplative season leading up to the end of the year. At the moment it’s the last poem in my backlog that I’ve labelled “presentable,” so this department of the blog may become less consistent in the next few months if the current somewhat-dry spell continues.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can also read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know which poems you think are my best.

This poem is also archived on my wiki.

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3 thoughts on ““Falling Fire”

  1. It’s wonderful, the fact that, and the way in which, you reveal that this fire, glory, has a heavenly source, and therefore demands or elicits SOME kind of love necessarily. This is very fine, Jonathan!
    It did make me remember Beatrice.

    • I’m glad this resonates with you; I’ve tried to bring out these themes in several poems, with varying degrees of success.
      If by “Beatrice” you mean Dante’s beloved, you’ve seen the not-quite-immediate source of my thinking on these issues. I’m heavily influenced by Dante, filtered by Williams; what I probably need most at the moment is to steep more in the source from which they drew what is true and best in their work, the Scriptures.

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