Monday, March 14, 2011

Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories

Because fire coaxes the carbon from wood
and releases it back to the atmosphere,
we gather around it and watch.

It is our favorite kind of destruction, contained,
intentional. We made it, and it makes
itself, burns whatever we feed it.

Fireside talk turns to ghosts. It is inevitable.
A spirit speaking through the stereo,
sparking light bulbs, blown fuses.

A familiar presence but no body, hovering.
The scent of this person we loved,
it overwhelms us and evaporates.

Above, the trees press against the dark sky,
the world’s shattered windshield.
Smoke lifts toward it, a ghost.


  1. Eerie and beautiful. The watching the fire experience came back to me intensely while reading--times alone, and times shared; so, also then, the ghost stories around fire.

    That last stanza has a ghostly feel of the fires going on now, our shared shattered sky.

  2. Yes, this is beautiful and haunting. I love how the poem begins with carbon. It gives it a bit of a "scientific" voice. Then it evolves into ghosts. That gentle twist is fantastic.

    Stanza two is also top notch. Contained, intentional destruction. Wow! So true.

    "The scent of this person we loved" is such a strong line. We have a fire pit in our backyard, and I spend most nights there. All those ghosts can be overwhelming. You captured that feeling.

    Wonderful poem, Hannah.

  3. Intentional and contained destruction--yes! Like incense. Loved it.

  4. Join with the others in giving this the thumbs up.

    I like how you move the poem from the scene of feeding a fire (intentional action) to talk of ghosts (supernatural) to "the scent of this person we loved" (touchingly personal). That line turns the poem, giving it depth.

    Some wonderful lines, especially "the dark sky, / the world's shattered windshield".

    The image of the smoke has so many associations.

  5. This so evocative and brings back warm memories of sitting around a camp fire telling ghost stories. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a wonderful little comment!

    The premise of this blog fascinates me. It is this perfect collusion of two of the things I love most dearly: visual art and poetry. Truly lovely. I will be reading it regularly.

    This poem has a raw edge to it that I adore. In particular, "It is our favorite kind of destruction, contained, intentional. We made it, and it makes
    itself, burns whatever we feed it." So perfect.


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