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
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.]