Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Art of Making Fire

The scientists gave up and
began praying to Prometheus.
Give us fire, they pleaded.

Unto mortals, he replied,
the gift of fire
I have already given.

We want to power
the planet, they explained,
with star fire, with fusion.

That art I cannot teach,
Prometheus stated.
That is the realm of the gods alone.

But it is cold and dark,
they begged, and the light
will feed the green plants.

You have more than enough,
he replied, for your needs.
Your wants you must temper.

Then silence he gave them,
for he had answered
their prayers with wisdom.

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to a prompt to write about the art of making fire at We Write Poems.

I wrote this a couple of days ago, but am posting it as today's poem. I haven't written a poem yet today, but it's only 6:15 a.m. here on the west coast.


  1. Anonymous6:51 AM

    Wise words indeed and a good lesson for us all. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love that you get Prometheus in there. I can understand his reluctance to deliver cold fusion; angering Zuis the first time did not work out well for him. Is he still bound?
    Sorry for adding the link, but your version of Blogger doesn’t allow an automatic link to Wordpress where I have my poetry site. Rather than display my family site, I usually avoid replying, but I really like your writing and lurk on your site even if I don’t comment.

  3. Anonymous9:51 AM

    I enjoyed this very much.

  4. This is really superb, Mr. Walker.


  5. If only we'd been taught not to play with fire...

  6. Really nice piece. Tons of interest here.

    I agree that getting a little bit more of the position from which Prometheus is responding would add some strength to the voice. My tongue also trips a little over the archaism of 'Your wants you must temper' since most of the poem moves forward without unusual word order.

    Otherwise, really striking in both concept (Promethean dialogue) and execution ('With star fire, with fusion' - beautiful).

    Great stuff.

  7. Anonymous2:02 PM

    I really enjoyed this response to the prompt. Thought-provoking.

  8. Yes sir, I like the way you presented this, it reminds me of that other fellow, Plato.

  9. Mike, thank you for leaving me a comment. I didn't realize anyone was having trouble leaving comments. I will look into my comment settings, but I do have it set up with OpenID, which should be supported by your WordPress info, as I understand it. I'm glad you're enjoying my writing. While I appreciate comments, I'm glad people are reading my poems and enjoying them.

  10. the Crow himself, thank you for your comments. When I revise this poem, I may even remove all the speaking cues: replied, stated, etc. That might force me to make the tone of Prometheus come through just in his words.
    I did deliberately order that line that way because I wanted to draw attention to the word temper - to improve the hardness and elasticity of a metal by reheating and then cooling. However, if the unusual word order is ineffective and readers miss the word emphasis, then I might change it.
    Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad you found it striking.

  11. Thanks to everyone who read my poem and left me a comment. It's part of what makes this poem-a-day thing such fun! I really do appreciate it.

  12. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Well done, Mr. Walker! I love the stanza "We want to power the planet, they explained, with star fire, with fusion." And look...we have done just that.

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  15. Brenda, you totally got it. We overlook our own sun, just take it for granted, and yet its light and heat is what makes life possible here on planet Earth.

  16. What really strikes me is "Your wants you must temper". I think tempering of wants would be a very good thing, if only I could. :)

  17. Anonymous7:13 PM

    never satisfied... a very human trait... sad, but true...

  18. Judy, yes, it's hard to temper those wants. I'm glad you liked that line. I like the pun myself.
    pieceofpie, thank you for stopping by and reading my poem. You kind words are appreciated.