Flame and Ash

i am sent into the platinum flame, and burn.
my essence scatters, finer than ash
sifting through the scalded air,
dispersing beyond the world’s end.

carried afar by those who loved me best,
to spill, finally, into the great blue deep.
they weep,
knowing it is the final sign of respect and love
with which we were so generous.

i am the flame, consuming all
without avarice,
knowing that I burn when I may
and diminish when I may not.

to move on, to move on.
at first, the heart is heavy, and the land
drags beneath me,
until the sun rises
and bird sings its first morning tune,
and flower opens its face, and spreads wide its variegated arms
in unselfconscious glory.

i recall:
flame and ash, they are the same to me,
for I am and have been both, and neither,
and will be, again.
and yet again.

what compensation, then, for the struggles of living?
there is life, and sustenance;
play, learning and work;
mischief, responsibility and desperate efforts;
the caresses of love,
and the tears of loss;
service and selfishness,
holding close, letting run free;
fear, and the release from fear.

and though i may be flame,
consuming all without avarice,
i burn brightest for you,
who are also of flame and ash.
for all of you, without end.

March 29, 2011, Los Angeles


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