The Creative Spark

red lighted candle

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The Creative Spark

 

A single spark began my tale
From an instant of repose. 
The throb of creation stirred within
And burgeoning life arose. 

The candle spluttered into life
As the flame that lit it died. 
It gathered strength and grew apace, 
Its feathered flame untied. 

Flickering gently in still air
Until it caught the breeze, 
Its flame intensified and grew, 
Spreading itself with ease. 

Dispelling gloom, its wholesome light, 
The dark intent to smother. 
The reflected child of one bright spark
And parent of another. 

I thought how works the simile 
To pass its blood line on?
One flame still burning strong and bright,
The other dead and gone. 

Never quite to be extinguished
Parent and child enriched.
The spark that gave my poem life
Gone now but still exists.

 

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‘First Fig’ – Edna St.Vincent Millay

[  # 80 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright who was born in Rockland, Maine, in 1892.  I have used a short poem of  hers before in this series – in November of 2017, q.v. . . .    ‘What Lips My Lips Have Kissed’ .

This poem is even shorter, but I find that it does have a  lot to say, about her own lifestyle and about the times and the milieu which she inhabited in her heyday in 1920s New York.   Millay titled the book in which this poem was published A Few Figs From Thistles, and this poem was the first one in the book, hence ‘First Fig’.

The poem is highly symbolic and the opening line plunges the reader into that arresting metaphor which she uses to describe her wild, bohemian, certainly unorthodox spirit.   The second line, however, recognises the ephemeral nature of such an existence with the bitter-sweet ‘It will not last the night’.  She is acknowledging that brightness is not all, a candle burning simultaneously from both ends will burn twice as quickly and such hedonistic times will not last.

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Figs from Thistles: First Fig

 

My candle burns at both ends;

   It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—

   It gives a lovely light!

 

2-ended candle

 

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