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“The Flight” by W.S. Merwin: some poetry for why we burn

August 10, 2009
The Flight

At times in the day
I thought of a fire to watch
not that my hands were cold
but to have that doorway to see through
into the first thing
even our names are made of fire
and we feed on night
walking I thought of a fire
turning around I caught sight of it
in an opening in the wall
in another house and another
before and after
in house after house that was mine to see
the same fire the perpetual bird

—W. S. Merwin
from his poetry collection,
The Compass Flower (1977)

Maybe it’s just that it’s that time of year where we Burners are obsessed with thoughts of Burning Man.

But when I read this poem recently, the opening lines about wanting a fire “to have that door to see through” clicked: this is one of the huge reasons why I at least go to Burning Man: it provides me with a tool, a prism, a door way in and a door way out.

Maybe I’m reading this poem all wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time! But this is what it brings up for me, what it makes me think about–that:

Going to Burning Man connects and reconnects that fire which is in me with that fire which is in everyone. Black Rock City opens the walls, lets us in to see the fire within, a fire which seems to burn especially bright in those folks who call Black Rock City “Home.”

What does Merwin’s poem bring up for you–Burners, non-Burners, and wannabe Burners alike?

Watch this space for more Burning Man news! Coming up soon: theme camps! What are they? How do I Join one? How do I igure out where to camp at Burning Man?

P.S. This is Day 4 of my summer subscription drive–please subscribe by clicking the button in the upper right side! It’s free–but I’ll take any donations you wish to send (wine? books? positive energy? a great job?)

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 10, 2009 5:24 am

    I already subscribe! I am very proud to be the first (almost) subscriber and I will be a lifetime one.

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