The Flames

I wrote another conscious imitation for class today and I really enjoy how it came out. This time I imitated the wonderful Mary Oliver. She is a fascinating lady with the most curious poetry. She has the style and feel that I desire to have some day–I find inspiration by reading her work and also discover bits and pieces about myself along the way. Give her a read, I know you’ll love it. 

Here is the original and mine is right below.

“The Lamps” by Mary Oliver

Eight o’clock, no later,

You light the lamps,


The big one by the large window,

The small one on your desk.


They are not to see by–

It is still twilight out over the sand,


The scrub oaks and cranberries.

Even the small birds have not settled


For sleep yet, out of reach

Of prowling foxes. No,


You light the lamps because

You are alone in your small house


And the wicks sputtering gold

Are like two visitors with good stories


They will tell slowly, in soft voices,

While the air outside turns quietly


A grainy and luminous blue.

You wish it would never change–


But of course the darkness keeps

Its appointment. Each evening,


An inscrutable presence, it has the final word

Outside every door.


“The Flames” by Rebekah Shepherd

Seven o’clock, no later,

You light the fire,


The stone one in the dining room,

The brick one in your bedroom.


They cannot be seen

Past the surrounding wooded forest,


The great pines and huckleberries.

Even the fauns have not hidden


For sleep yet, out of sight

Of crawling cougars. No,


You light the fire because

You are lonely in your small cabin


And the flames crackle stories

Like a concourse of party voices


Their words hum against the wooded walls,

While the air outside slowly becomes


A hazy and translucent silver.

You wish the sun would never leave–


But of course the night must obey

Its natural clock. Each evening,


An impenetrable attendance, it whispers the last word

Outside every door.



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