Friday, May 20, 2011

The Flash

By Joseph Hesch

It always seems to start with a flash,
something soft and sudden that,
nevertheless, catches your attention
with a gentle pull at the corner of your eye.
If you’re lucky, the two of you
are drawn to one another like
shipwreck survivors on a night sea,
fearful, yet hopeful that the light each sees
can be a friend in all this lonely dark.
Once together, you’ll share each other’s
reflected light.  Maybe a flame springs forth
between you as each brings heat,
as well as illumination, to the other.

If you’re not careful, you could start a fire,
which is never a bad thing if you can
keep it under control, you know,
like in a hearth instead of in a dry forest.
Such blazes take constant attention,
and without care even the most roaring
can wane, maybe damping down
into glowing embers. Some even end up
gasping to expire as shallow black ash.
Then the only light you’ll share comes not
from the welcoming flash of youthful ardor,
nor the flame or warm glow of together.
In the empty darkness of two who are none,
it’s the cold angry spark of flint on steel.

I've posted this poem in response to a request by poet Brian Miller at the wonderful One Stop Poetry community site.  Brian and his wife are celebrating their 15th anniversary and it's finally Spring and that's when young (and old) men's hearts turn to thoughts of Love. Brian asked us for a love poem or an un-love poem. I think I split the difference, with maybe (forgive me) a lesson in there, too.


  1. oh you took us full circle in love...from birth to tending the flame to those that unfortunately snuff out their coals growing colder and colder...

  2. If you’re lucky, the two of you
    are drawn to one another like
    shipwreck survivors on a night sea - loved this and brought back some teenager memories...i even started to play basketball to be able to see him more often...smiles

  3. You've summed up perfectly what can happen if we don't take the time to nurture love.
    Your ending definitely packed a punch.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. And then there are the even more complicated flames...

    but I like to watch the fires burning soft and bright, just like you painted them best.

  5. Wonderful tribute to love in all it's forms. The 'shipwreck survivors' passage is so visual, I could see myself there. Loved the subtle observation at the end.

  6. brilliant.

    love the word flow.

    How is your day?

    Please share your poetry with JP potluck today,
    Have fun!

    Love your talent, as always, appreciate your support.

    Old poems or poems unrelated to our theme are all welcome!


  7. wow

    I would like you to take a look at my blog too though it's hardly disciplined:)

  8. the first few lines really kinda caught my attention and took me in