Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 in Interpersonal Skills

crown fire


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

-Judy Brown

Fire is on my mind. I live in Northern New Mexico. Because of extreme drought, we have fires in the mountains all around where I live. This morning I went outside to ash falling from the sky. Last night I went to bed with a view of fire on the mountaintops by Los Alamos, 30-40 miles or so away. The mountain ridges looked like the cone of a volcano.

Judy Brown’s poem is about a different kind of fire and addresses a different kind of theme about fire. Her poem is about giving space, a light touch, and not micromanaging. It is about allowing what is to be.

Image: Jim Staley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *