and the ground trembled beneath her feet,
I could have lost her in that smoke.
In those dancing shadows,
against a burning sky,
she became one with
light and darkness and
mingled spun and became
a daughter of wind and flame.
I followed, my head
would she lead?
We passed along a golden
ridge and came to a wooden
bridge and went across the stream
and walked the tightrope at the
edge of the pale. And she pushed beyond it,
her slender arms and faultless
parting the curtain at horizon’s end.
There was a voice that called her there
to that hollow of shadow and bone. She
brought me there
daughter of wind and flame
and laid my head upon the stone. And
raised the blade and
said my name and I
closed my eyes and took
At the end
it is not dark.
It is bright. The
end of night. The
end of hate. The illusion
of having saved. The image,
the burning flame.
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Notes on the poem
In some ways, “Daughter of Wind and Flame” is a followup to my earlier poem “Child of the Sun.” It’s a poem about retribution and reparation. In this case, retribution and reparation are symbolized by the death of the speaking character in the poem. At the same time, the poem leaves it open to interpretation whether the character’s death has actually signified anything in its last few lines — The metaphorical / end of night. The metaphorical / end of hate. The illusion / of having saved.
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