H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n








Lonely, contemplating suicide?

Go alone into the forest, find a clearing,

Gather wood, build a fire, stay up all night

with the fire and the stars.

Have a little blackberry brandy as your telescope

to bring the stars closer in.

The sound of the fire, the smell of the fire,

The light and heat of the fire

will help you, heal you.

A campfire’s a Paleolithic experience

we can all still have.


Renew the pledge of brotherhood round the fire.

Renew the pledge of sisterhood round the fire.

Hold hands in a circle and each make

the sacred vow and pledge

And then silence, silence

and the fire,

But really you’re alone,

You only imagined your friends

and lovers near,

Only imagined all the poets you love

holding hands round the fire as one.



The flames recede,

The logs fall in among themselves,

Sparks fly up, a puff of smoke, a sigh,

the fire dies down.

The cold creeps in and you draw nearer

the ebbing flame,

And then the embers, the embers glowing

softly red

While above the startling stars

and forest smell rush in

as eyes adjust to the dark.


The towering ancient trees nearby

Cease being lit

by flickering light.

Warm your hands one last time

over the dying fire.

Remain. Remain long

after the fire is out,

Long after the cold creeps in.

Look up at the stars

longer than you ever have

and maybe ever will.


Renew the pledge of friendship round the fire.

Renew the pledge of love around the fire.

Make the vow of vows under the stars.

Renew, renew around the campfire

in the wilderness under a wilderness of stars.

And then silence, silence and the expiring fire

and the silent continuous movement

of Stars and Earth in Space

Till the embers fade away––

and with the first light of day

shoulder your pack and head forth.



[Originally published in NHS 1994, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs94/index.html#41.]