The Fire Dance

Thrum-thrum-thrum –
I awaken with a start –
heart pounding,
intense heat stifling –

flames shooting
ceiling high form
a ring around my bed,
as if dancing –

I am frozen, mute.
Is this death?

Distorted faces
leer through fiery curls –
like ancient tribal masks –
menacing, angry

the distinct sound of voices
penetrates the fire’s roar
and too frightened to respond,
I succumb to unconsciousness.

A hallucination, the doctor deduces –
an adolescent’s overactive imagination…

till, child no more, I gather
with other women,
and a drum –

and darkness pulls me back –
to the centre of the ring –
flames, and faces, and voices

only now, I am no longer afraid –
release my soul to the dance.

(Written for the dVerse pub where Victoria is hosting with the prompt: fire.)

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

41 thoughts on “The Fire Dance”

  1. There is such a surreal feeling to this. I got this image of a Rousseau painting in my head, and I thought of Joni Mitchell’s The Jungle Line. That dream/nightmare/hallucination/vision sounds so intense, but I like that there is release at the end.

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  2. Parents (doctors) are too quick to smooth over a child’s inner encounters in our culture. In this preview of something
    to come later in life (perhaps a memory of something from a prior life?), neither child nor parents had any way to relate. Ditto what Brendan says. I trust every dream to be for my best – even when (maybe especially when) I can’t yet make any sense of it!

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  3. I think that shamanic initiation is in part spontaneous — maybe not for everyone, but especially those who find themselves eventually tasked with writing deep words. Dreams of fire in children are oracular and whisper fates they cannot understand until the initiation.

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