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Those that tend fires require

A special form of patience

Watching through the window, winter-long


While the rain streaks; patience of a saint


Then, after bare grey days, at last

Catkins on branches unfurl daily until

The stumbling bee finally arrives


Late and cold like the spring at last


And the badger comes at night, or dusk

Rooting up the garden, from dark woods behind;

With patience to stay wakeful, and the stamina


You may glimpse its fleeting stripes by moonlight


Patience can make time pass quick or slow

Reconciling, days go by, like a pack of cards

Being shuffled and cut, and shuffled again


Jokers are always wild, spread out the deck


Red queen on black king; as pastimes go

It’s right up there with watching drying paint

Or having faith that things will ever change


Carry your cards, clock in, clock out, clock off


Have patience, they say; spring is coming -

It will come; it always does, sit tight

And tend your fire, and cultivate your garden


Long green spring evenings, now it’s light


But I was always better at starting fires

Than tending them, never saw the point

Of patience as a virtue (or a vice)


It’s not as if there’s ever any option…


Just sit there, and be a little patient

Tending your fire, not getting rash, taking your meds

In case your ever-coursing arteries harden


One day, if you’re patient, things may better!

One day, a lifetime’s end away from now.

Watch and learn, boy, watch and learn;

Life is what happens while you’re being patient.





◄ Invisible Mending

Torch Song ►


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Harry O'Neill

Thu 24th May 2012 20:20

Just checking back for gaffs...the last word in this blog should be `more`. (What could you expect from a guy who thought it was Plath that wrote the drowning thing?)

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Harry O'Neill

Thu 17th May 2012 14:34


Tried to follow the `clues` in this...(I know someone who plays the card game interminably)

The single lines say it more concisely: There`s no option really, so just sit there and let it happen...The rest of the poem gainsays the bit about starting fires, and even the spring, when it comes, is `late and cold`...the total effect is acceptance of Life.

The form puts the `story` over well (but, for me,
dismally) one of the `hardening arteries` I couldn`t disagree with the `story` less.

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