another page in a crumple
on the floor.

he would bruise the words,
attempt to beat them
into meaning,

some phrase or chiseled
line sufficient to pierce
her indifference.

each time, a crash of his hand
upon the table, crush
of paper added to the pile.

at night — when cramps stilled
the pen and wine blurred
the words — he would
collect his cast-offs,

crouch at the edge of the fire
and feed them slowly
to the flame, watching as each
would char and split and burst
into sparks.

he would watch the wind
draw the smoke into the night
as the glow of burning devotion

wondering if she could smell
his love on the breeze or taste
his desire in the ashes.

Burning papers at the end of the semester

(Photo credit: benuski)

Written for The Sunday Whirl.

Posted to the Imaginary Garden Open Link Monday



Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

25 responses to “Burning

  1. margo roby

    Oy! Oy! I love this. Love it. The character of ‘he’ is as vivid as if I had the scene in front of me and were watching.

  2. The ending is delicious, Mark. It got me yearning. Such strong desire set to the page. Love this write!

  3. Awww …. how sad. I hope she knew.

  4. A strong write filled with emotion! Ah, the depth of his love! The wordle words were lost in this poem, Mark, as they were worked in so naturally.

  5. Love “bruise the words,” especially. Wonderful.

  6. I echo the others before me, Mark. This is divine. Great imagery.


  7. Nice – a lamentation or a love poem both … this has lovely imagery and a great deal of regret … and the wordled words disappear completely … well done.


  8. Classic unrequited love poem, Mark. Excellently done.

  9. Mark, you romantic devil. We’ve all glimpsed this moment and you’ve captured it brilliantly. Impressive!

  10. Oh, you sucked me in, I don’t want him to burn his words, never burn the words! She seems suspect of being obtuse.

  11. The fire is cooler than his unrequited love. Great write.

  12. Yes, I agree with all above. And ‘bruise the words’… so right and so sad…

  13. magicalmysticalteacher

    He wonders…but she, apparently, does not…

    Thus it is ever with unrequited love.

    Half a Whirl

  14. Mark, I, too, love this. Every stanza has something I like – and the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts. And a great title as well.


  15. Oooh those last two lines just make this poem! All the pent-up frustration and imagery of feeding unread words to the flames come together so well.

  16. Wow! I like this. I understood the frustration and desire to create as well as to connect. You pulled strings from page to mind and heart. I wanted to tell him “Let that internal editor have a day off!”

  17. hedgewitch

    I can so relate to this–that ashy feeling that flares to anger at how far and no farther words can go–it’s a good thing for trees that I don’t use paper anymore, is all I can say. Excellent poem.

  18. Enjoyed the use of the fire and words for devotion all gone to naught ~

    Lovely share ~

  19. oh this is sooo intoxicating, i want to feed my discarded words into the fire. just love this.

  20. Nicely built–vivid images, languid and easy flow. It’s some fine stuff.

  21. Gorgeous writing, Mark! I especially like: “bruise the words, attempt to beat them into meaning” and “chiseled line sufficient to pierce her indifference.” The ending is spectacular!

  22. rosemary mint

    I really love the opening:
    “another page in a crumple
    on the floor.
    he would bruise the words”

    And this line: “collect his cast-offs”

    What a sad ending. Nice work, Mark.

  23. I loved the ending, it added just the right spark!
    Well Done~

  24. You create another altar here, and I wonder wistfully with you whether sacrifice reaches its target! WOW.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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