The chill has taken hold and with the storms of snow and sub-zero cold, we need to warm things up. The best way to start a fire is with a good spark. You choose the spark… your subject is something that flashes an idea from your domain. Could be the dust bunnies under the couch, it might be a smoke alarm with a low battery (change that battery!). The constant ringing of robo-calls or tele-maketers on your phone. What sets you off? What sparks your ire (fire)? Right it! Write it!



No pilot to ignite.
No burst of firelight.
No flash-fed zeal. 
And that’s the deal
when I sit down to write.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022



I can feel a chill. 
Can you feel it?
Who ever invited the cold inside?
I tried to stem the tide
but I just can't hide the fact
that the track on the window sill
is letting in that frigid chill.
I must hop to!, I cannot wait.
It's surely time to insulate!
Can you feel it? I can!

(c) Walter J Wojtanik - 2022

164 thoughts on “PROMPT #370 – FIRE STARTER


    ires a Scotsman
    more than an Irishman
    who drinks in a pub and then leaves,

  2. Marie, your piece speaks well of many a day when I sit down to write, such as today, for instance.

  3. Walt, your piece suggests that the late cold may be too much even for insulation. Might be toddy time, especially if you can feel it.

  4. I KNEW

    I knew…

    As sure as the sun rises in the east,
    I’d be an atrabilious old man. An Ill-tempered, irritable, flammable, kickable, rusted tin can.

    Roving memories seems to wander,
    ready to spark bumbling, belligerent flames.
    Virulent fumes leaking—flee a broken mind,
    wet with tears, yet wildfires begin all the same.

    Benjamin Thomas


    gets irritated
    when poets
    drop cinquains
    for four surplus syllables
    loosed by shadormae.


    The wrath of the flame—
    doesn’t discriminate, or hate,
    based upon race, creed,
    or fame.

    It eradicates. It decimates.
    Consumes all within in its path.
    Devouring without discretion.

    A beautiful beast that burns.
    A vivid, bright color that turns—
    everything black as ash.

    It asks no question,
    before or after.
    It lacks all reason.

    And it needs none,
    to deliver the elements
    of their burden.

    It gives no answer.
    Has no remorse.
    Offers no solution.

    Until it runs
    the course
    of cruelty.

    But the ashes—
    do remain,

    Although it takes no blame.
    But points its finger—
    at the spark.

    © Benjamin Thomas


    I’m a handful—
    of matches.

    If something rubs me
    the wrong way…

    Well, let’s just say,
    there’d be undesirable

    © Benjamin Thomas


    A person with PTSD has a mind
    drenched in gasoline.

    Thoughts, things, sounds, feelings,
    persons—become incendiary.

    The threshold for explosion
    is small, simple, and ordinary.

    We catch fire every day.
    Burned to a crisp, by the ordinary.

    People see the rising smoke—
    coughing, choking, ducking.

    But they fail to see,
    the flames.

    Because it’s difficult to see
    the flammable material—

    Perilous wounds of mind,
    hidden behind our name.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  9. When Life’s a Mess

    At times my life’s a mess
    Some mornings, I confess
    I mentally attack
    Myself for my sore lack

    Before I’m up and dressed
    At times my life’s a mess
    I drive myself insane
    Accused of being lame

    I learned that when I paint
    To not despair or faint
    At time’s my paint’s a mess
    But turns to loveliness

    With each of paintbrush swish
    I reach the goal I wish
    I’ll pray through times of stress
    The times my life’s a mess

  10. Even in SoCal I can feel you, Walt, and your wry humor. Marie, it may not be a flash, but when you sit with eager readiness for your poems to arise, they do, with brilliance which lights the way for others

  11. Spark

    All of a sudden, it seemed,
    everything shifted, I mean,
    I look at myself in the mirror,
    never bern stuck doing that with fear.
    It’s my body, all right –
    skin grafts, check,
    stitching scars, check,
    sagging lower belly, what the heck.
    It’s a well-used body, this one,
    each part a piece of my personal
    jigsaw puzzle, and then some.

    Even my dreams have been changed,
    by cosmic forces or aging nostrils, rearranged
    Hopes and aspirations still exist,
    but I can tell you this,
    I’ve bought enough stuff, sold enough homes,
    moved enough times,
    looking, seeking, reaching.
    Now the goals are inward,
    searching for that place,
    waiting for that spirit
    to touch me, continuing the teaching.

    So I sit in my room,
    staring at nothing,
    lost in my thoughts.
    I find myself.

  12. Touched by the Early Sun

    A patch of new growth
    arises in the midst of a great forest.

    Young trees in the morning reach skyward
    to touch the face of the sun.

    The scenery rolls past the window
    while in silence I drive

    while narrow inroads into the forest
    invite me to search for other lives.

    New growth like a phoenix
    rises from soil a fire once cleared.

  13. Enjoyed both your poems today, Marie and Walt! Great example for writing, Marie, and loved your fitting title, Walt! That first draft always needs attention!


    Anything that
    Moving at its pace
    Filling the space
    Becoming anything
    Sparking its own
    Creative moment
    Time well spent
    The more visual
    The better
    A true touch
    Of warmth
    Or such
    Never, ever
    Too much
    Just a feeling
    Feel it
    Send it reeling
    Capture that thought
    Let it do what it ought
    Bring it back to where it landed
    Just make sure
    In the end
    You understand it

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2022

  14. The Clock
    –with apologies to Poe

    An almost tintinnabulation
    the ticking like a beating heart
    how it stutter-steps into jerks
    splutters rapid staccatos and

    then the sudden cessation
    the pause in which you hold
    your own breath
    wondering if either will begin

    the thudding of your own
    heart a pounding in your ears
    a pressure in your chest
    as you wait

    for those seconds of
    when you decide

    you are the clock
    beneath the yellow umbrella
    shading the pushcart
    full of flowers waving
    around the little man
    with his twirled white
    handlebar mustache

    and you feel your back
    against the wall
    a single nail
    digging into your sixth
    vertebra where

    you hang
    as the battery dies
    leaving you

    in silence.

  15. Marie, your prompts and Walt’s keep the Muse endlessly alert if not amused! There’s never a blank space with your wonderful ideas and urgings! Walt, have an ancient sliding glass door literally sealed now against the west rains that were pouring in (and yes, finally across the years slated for replacement) but can so relate to the chill creeping in. Glad you sealed things up!

  16. An Outrage

    of two
    thoughtless teens
    unwrapping candy
    bars, flinging wrappers on the street
    in broad daylight–as people pass–next to garbage can.
    I figure there’s a distinct possibility that their parents leave dog poop un-scooped.


    Some days,
    there is no spark.
    A faulty ignition system
    has left its mark—
    upon the brain.

    There is no fuel,
    but receding vapors.
    Fleeing fumes from
    the scene of the crime—
    the human mind.

    Some days there’s a crave,
    for fireworks. Violent outbursts
    of energy and bright lights.
    A dazzling display of the fight,
    for freedom—from the darkness.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  18. Spark

    I wonder,
    in which seed the birth
    of hope for life
    in cold dark earth
    becomes the first,
    the first initial spark of Spring,
    the spark that changes every
    Some where
    a chirp,
    the first grace note,
    of that first song
    of that first hope,
    is uttered first in bush or tree–
    I wonder, just where that might be?

    But if I knew,
    I would not know
    the wonder of
    all things that grow.
    I could not see
    sun-glistened dew
    in all it’s beauty,
    fresh and new.
    I could not thrill at greening bough
    if I knew when and where and how
    the first spark of the coming Spring
    brought change in every living thing.

    © Damon Dean, 2022

  19. Walt, so utterly cold even down here in Arkansas…a low of 11 last week at my house. I want a humongous roll of cellephane for the whole house! A fun poem.
    Marie, your piece reverberates with all poets! True.

    • Thanks much!

      And yep, it’s freezing here in NW Ohio, too. The first day of spring semester at the school where I volunteer was supposed to be today. Cancelled in part for the snow, but mostly for the cold. What a bummer.

  20. I have never written about this incident before and have been quite on it… I was twenty… about two months later, I became a Christian…

    Your Eyes ignited me…

    I was young and foolish.
    You were dangerous.
    I was drawn into the risks…
    No one knew your words…
    Of how you wanted
    To burn down a house…
    The one in which I lived.
    But like a moth to a flame,
    I kept coming back.
    One night your eyes glowed
    And I watched the embers light
    Into a raging flame.
    I was trapped in a web
    You had been building.
    Your hands around my neck
    Would leave bruises
    That I hid…
    The kicks to my side
    Made it hurt to breathe.
    Somehow, I broke free.
    I ran like the hound from hades
    Was after me…
    I heard your laughter,
    For you thought
    I would be back…
    But I wouldn’t.
    That night
    I told myself…
    I will never let a person
    Hit me and bruise me
    Just because they could.
    From those flames
    I was being born again…
    A warrior born…
    That is who I am…
    I did not begin this way…
    It was pain, and fear
    That gave me courage
    To face down
    All those whose eyes
    Had glowed in desire
    Hate, anger, and evil
    To hurt me.

    But I was a different kind of warrior…
    One who would be created
    Out of love…
    And that love
    I would bring to others.

    Months later,
    I learned this man
    That harmed me
    Had died in a fiery crash
    Taking four people with him.
    I wept not for him,
    But for the woman
    Who never thought
    Domestic violence
    Would touch her,
    But learned
    I was not so different
    From all those others
    Who had been abused…
    That night as the flames
    Scorched her skin
    But did not burn her…
    That woman disappeared.
    I became a warrior born.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    January 24, 2022


    The sight of a single solitary word,
    unbounded, undressed, is mortifyingly disgraceful.

    Wandering aimlessly aloof, without its rightful,
    companions—seeking delightful meaning.

    Until comes along the begetter of muse,
    a gentleman of sorts. A craftsman of arts—

    A skilled laborer who then lights a fuse,
    a learned engineer, a builder, a constructor of parts.

    Who fast creates lush, rushing waterfalls
    of words, or pristine, clean waters to drink.

    Elevates to the majestic brink of the Himalayas.
    Descends to the bottom of the deepest sea.

    Passes amidst green battalions of forest trees.
    Galloping by outstanding flocks of evergreens.

    Dashing through the vast expanse of grassy knolls.
    Tasting epic arrays of fruits that the fowl do extol.

    No word truly ever exists alone.
    The master craftsman, with a spark of muse—

    With skills sharpened, practiced, honed.
    Assuredly, always finds its home.

    © Benjamin Thomas


    In times of laughter she was there,
    adding her peals to the summer air
    and making the day seem fairer than fair.

    In times of trouble she stood fast,
    removing the sting from the wintry blast
    and paving the way for the sunbeam’s cast.

    She put the spark in sparkle.


    There is nothing more perplexing—
    than those who stack filthy dishes
    on both sides of the sink.

    Just stop and think—mourn, scorn upon this
    behavioral disdain. There should be a penitence
    for such feeble, cognitive dissonance.

    There is nothing more bewildering, than those
    who contumaciously disregard the civilized way
    of gents. It’s rather complete flummery.

    © Benjamin Thomas


    A mere word,
    can set the world
    of imagination

    It sparks a spin—
    of the inscrutable
    index of

    It pulls the pin,
    hurls the grenade,
    onto the art of the

    © Benjamin Thomas

  25. A home I dream of having…

    My house would be on the edge of a creek
    That at night would sing me to sleep,
    And in the summer evenings
    I would go out to my fire pit,
    And build a fire…
    Something I was taught to do.
    I would sit by the fire
    And watch the sparks rise
    Up to the trees and
    Watch them fade
    As they rise higher and higher…
    I would lean back
    And sip my cup of hot tea…
    The one with a bit of lavender in it.
    The creek would sing
    To my soul, and I could feel its giggles
    As it tumbled over the rocks,
    And stones
    Made smooth by the motion…
    It would be nice to spent
    A few quiet moments
    Maybe with someone
    Where words did not have to be said,
    For us to know each other.
    We would stay until the embers died,
    And maybe just before we went in,
    I would wander down barefoot
    To that creek, just wiggle my toes,
    Which could remember
    How I loved to wade into the water
    Even when they were small,
    And just walking.

    I know it is not a dream
    That I will ever get,
    But it is nice just before I go to bed
    To tell me a story of such a place…
    And dream about my days working
    On a tale or two to tell
    Of my nights sitting by my creek,
    Listening to it send music to me.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    January 26, 2022


    That which brightens,
    is a champion of shadows.
    The ineffable.

    The unvitiated—
    the much anticipated,

    That which enlightens—
    the world is a conquest.
    The ultimate paragon.

    The calm still rays
    that displays the way
    to be taken.

    It yearns—for the dispersal
    of darkness; as fitly

    Like a hawk, with excellent
    vision; ample skill—and
    succulent desire for prey.

    © Benjamin Thomas


    It never fails, or falters.
    Her flawless cascade of rays,
    her streaming golden sunrise—
    forever alters my mood, my days,
    and always impels a smile.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  28. Sparklers

    Sparklers sparkle and shine
    When ignited, as
    The sparkles dance off
    Into the air,
    And make my heart giggle,
    Do not work so well
    When laid still hot
    On Ma’s tablecloth.
    That did not make me giggle.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    January 28, 2022

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