Defining Fire

I am sitting here in my home office, drinking coffee and watching my fireplace DVD. It’s nice on a rainy day, relaxing; a nice ambiance, without being distracting.

I’m thinking about fire. It’s one of the elemental facets of our world, and we know what it is, but how would you define it? In school we learned that it’s a chemical reaction, but …well, you know me, I had to look it up.

Firen. 1. a. A rapid, persistent chemical change that releases heat and light and is accompanied by flame, especially the exothermic oxidation of a combustible substance. b. Burning fuel or other material: a cooking fire; a forest fire.

Of course, there are many other definitions, but that’s not my point.

Being writers and poets, it is important that we know and ponder the meanings of words. Having a conversational familiarity is not enough. Because using words normally isn’t always art. Sometimes we use words almost just a little bit wrong, which is to say creatively. To be a moment misunderstood, understood almost too late.

Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild,
But every seeming aberration willed.
– Robert Francis

So I ask you, my artistic friend, what’s your persistent chemical change today? I know where mine is, and it’s not out there in the cold wind and rain, yet out I go. I hope for you the banking of a brazen pagan fire for the solstice between your ears, with a sparkling euphony of tintinnabulous bells.

Hear the sledges with the bells-
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

– Poe

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