Of Ice Crystals and Flaming Hearts

My poem, The Effulgent Heart is out now in the new issue of Survivor’s Review. It’s a poem very close to my own heart.

I wrote it at the end of the cycle of poems that became my chapbook Prayers and Curses. But I did not include it because it seemed to make its own noise apart from the others. So it stands alone, for now.

A lingering worry I have is that the reader will not respond, apart from confusion, to the final line. It will have to stand on its own, for now. But that mingling of fire and ice, of an ice that burns, that presses close even as it falls away, was on my mind throughout all of last year. I wrote about it here on the MB Sings. It’s in my obsession with James Tate’s poem, Dear Reader, and its connection (in my mind) to a comment by Robert Frost. It’s there in my reading of David Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress, a dream, and a strange poetic experiment. And it is there, most explicitly, in my discussion of the film, The Thin Red Line. I think of all of my poems, in a sense, as ice crystals.

The reader of the poem does not have access to any of this supplemental material, of course (and much less my thoughts). So I hope, at least, that something of a “soul on ice” comes through, however different than Mr. Cleaver’s–something of the icy image of living with the threat of cancer always looming. I’ll settle for that, until I can put into a poem what I need to say about ice.


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2 Responses to Of Ice Crystals and Flaming Hearts

  1. Susan Scheid says:

    Ice containing within it its opposite (burning to the touch), seems a fitting close to the poem, which I experienced as giving subtle, alive, expression to the necessity of holding opposing thoughts and feelings in one’s head and heart at the same time.

    • The contrasts/contradictions are wound very tight in this one, like a vine twisting up a tree trunk. It could have been the concluding poem in the chapbook, but I liked the note struck by the other poem, and then there seemed to be no place for this one.

      Thanks as always, Susan, for reading my poems.

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