Cathexis Northwest Press
Struck; Pass The Flame
By: John Paul Caponigro
Reopen a forest in its tomb to
pinch a blood-dipped stick then
raise it up high,
cock it with wrist,
thrust it downward,
caress it on a bed of glass.
Feel friction drag a scraping sound from the casket,
bring forth the first spark, and
listen to it hiss.
Anticipate fulminating flame,
guard against its guttering utterances,
clutch this burning wood as long as you can.
Air will fail,
light will die,
heat will pass.
when nothing seems to change.
Fume coils, sways, sputters, shrinks, and dissipates, while
wicked white columns disappear from the bottom up, but
infernal smells persist.
Repeat until your fingers are empty, as
darkness descends, try to hear something
beyond the roar of blood in your ears.
Pass The Flame
When your world grows dim, pass the flame
candle to candle,
A little illumination
even a spark
can undo what’s dark.
You were born into brigades of unburning flames.
Don’t break these
Never think that you’ll be extinguished
by kindling others. You’ll lose nothing and gain more
when you pass yourself forward.
You’ll find your truest gifts
by giving. You live
in an infinite web
of brilliance, your one glowing strand
connected to all others.
John Paul Caponigro is an internationally collected visual artist and published author. He leads unique adventures in the wildest places on earth to help participants creatively make deeper connections with nature and themselves. View his TEDx and Google talks at www.johnpaulcaponigro.art.
I was thinking about how forests turn into matches, a small bed box of sticks, in some ways like a coffin, and how if just one of those tiny things is set on fire, in the right circumstances, it could burn an entire forest. I stuck close to the simple act of striking a match.
Pass The Flame:
Jazz pianist Keith Jarret said you something to the effect that if you want to court the fire you have to risk getting burned. Inspiration is contagious. I hope my art throws off sparks that other people catch and fan into their own flames."