Heavenly flame, swaying on your wick,
stretching out your rippling black arm
to lofty goals, forever out of reach,
must I believe
that when at last I come to blow you out
you disappear?

Up there in the starry firmament
might there not be a vast cathedral
for blown-out flames, where they ascend
choir upon choir
shimmering in endless adoration
of the Zenith?

Or maybe in the blissful life to come
there’s a wondrous garden of delights
where seventy translucent she-flames
sparkling green
attend you on your every desire
to satisfy?

Or will you simply fly up in the sky
like a spark from an autumn bonfire
To find a dark spot in among the stars
to twinkle in?
Perhaps forsake this weary galaxy
for a better?

Ought bad flames be admitted to the sky
to poison it with bitter memories?
Better they are plunged deep underground
in fiery caves
to squirm in never-ending agonies

Maybe there’s no afterlife for you?
Tomorrow when I come to light you up
it happens you are born anew, to burn
yet holier
till you come back from grey nirvana’s brink
only to bless?

Let us imagine that you live but once
not hitherto, and never will again.
Should I let you burn completely down
to the saucer
to relish to the uttermost extent
this fleeting life?

Of these contending eschatologies
which one of them is lurking in the dark
to embrace you?
I’m not a flame: however could I know?
Nor indeed can you, until I come
to blow you out.

Clark Nida
January 2020