Flames of Gratitude [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

This weekend, my daughter and I were supposed to be on a poetry retreat, working on a collaborative project. 48 hours. 1 hotel room. It would have been intense, but we had to cancel. Health issues that form the basis of the story have intervened in real life, again.

I love this project–it’s one that been in progress for more than 15 years on my part. But I think it’s time to let it go. The collaboration is causing more stress than success. And I’m saying no to other projects begging for time because I keep saying yes to one more go at this one.

Before I abandon it, though, I’ll share one poem, already cut from the project. It was inspired by the fires at various camps, where the campers each write something privately on a slip of paper and then they all put their papers into the fire.

Flames of Gratitude

Our slips of paper
feed the small flame
It licks at them
like a cat tasting us
with a rough fiery tongue
It grows
and grows,
this gratitude fire,
warming us all,
zapping sparks of light
into the night

–Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

And for lots of wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with Diane at Random Noodling. I love her haiku stickies!



17 Responses

  1. Hi Laura, I hope you and your daughter are both well. Time is the rarest commodity of all. Imagine what it would sell for on the stock exchange. I imagine it would climb well over the price of gold. Another one we need is hope. I hope it all works out for you.

  2. I feel a twinge of sadness that this project may not come to light. I love this poem of gratitude thrown into the flames. I pray for healing, happiness, and hope.

  3. Your poem brings to mind the tradition at Kindling Words retreat where writerly wishes are thrown into the fire. Wishes of gratitude sounds like a better use of paper!

  4. Nice ending! “Zapping” is a great word to describe it. Thinking good thoughts for y’all’s health, projects, and time.

  5. What a BEAUTIFUL poem, Laura. The image is perfect- the more one feeds the flames of gratitude, the kinder the world.That’s one firestorm to keep fanning. Thank you.
    Wishing you wellness.

  6. There are times to reflect and know that a decision is the best one. Fond memories make it easier perhaps. I love the idea of a gratitude fire, wish you a good healing weekend, Laura.

  7. It’s hard to know when to let go & move on, but stress is a serious sign. I hope you will glean other poems & find your a‑ha moments from the process! Awesome poem!

  8. Hope things are getting better for you! We did an activity similar to this in my sorority when I was in college. When times would be difficult, like finals week or when tension was high, we would put our worries on the paper and then burn them. Always seemed to be a certain peace in the house after we did this. I love the idea of a gratitude fire!

  9. Here’s my scrap for the gratitude fire — thankful for all you do with your (seemingly) limitless energy!

  10. Laura, I am sending healing thoughts and love. While it’s difficult to let go, sometimes a new beginning will occur. I like the idea of gratitude as an everlasting flame.

  11. Some great works of art came from long gestation periods, maybe years from now it’ll resurface again. I wish you good tidings ahead.

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