Fire. It has many connotations. From desire to destruction, fire becomes the element that carries the most power. Think of an aspect of fire as your inspiration and let it fuel your burn!


Introduced couple.
Spontaneous combustion.
Someone lit a match.

© Marie Elena Good, 2022



Molten heat, flesh dripping
with the perspiration of passion's fire.
Crimson patches with crusted edges;
blisters of the resistant strain of hearts
more to ignite and burn in sacrifice;
the stench of charred skin, 
a blood offering to the gods who pander
to  longing. 
The pyre broils unbridled, arms out-
s  t  r  e  t  c  h  e  d and reaching to
breach the ford between
love and lust. A bridge.
It is what is, from the sanctuary
of solitary souls. Barren.
No one watches,
no one sees from whence smoke rises.
becomes my affliction,
setting myself ablaze for adulation's sake,
an implosion of inward emotions laid bare.
And there, where only ash remains
a powdered stain where once hearts conjoined.

(c) Walter J Wojtanik- 2022

98 thoughts on “PROMPT #399 – WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE

  1. Light it
    Burn that candle
    Now light the other end
    See how long it takes to burn out
    That’s no way to live your life

  2. Flame on!
    Bring on the heat
    Don’t you just love that smell?!?
    Burgers and dogs for everyone!
    And a tall glass of iced tea!

    • Glad you caught that, Damen. Thanks much! This one is a nod to my sister and brother-in-law, who I introduced. I used to teast them, because my sister initially told me he was very nice, but there was no “spark.” Well, that “no spark” turned into what I called spontaneous combustion. 😉 And I was the one who “lit” that “match.” 😉


    The walls completely collapsed
    in on themselves.

    Smoke, unbearable heat, rising to
    the top.

    Mercilessly burning the forefront
    of his own mind.

    The lure of the flames were one of a kind,
    provocative, abstruse;

    frolicking to and fro,

    It consumed him—

    Until even the embers
    mocked him.

    They settled themselves
    along with the dust.


    Until all that was left,
    were the poetry of ashes—

    The unfettered words that
    described him.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  4. Walt, your hot piece nonetheless leaves me with a chilled feeling; very effective. I also admire the several poetic devices you sprinkled through it.


    Stressful times
    diminish the grease
    that obscures
    life’s lean meat:
    the time spent in frying pans
    tempers one for fire.


    Sometimes, ire
    can explode to fire
    and no lyre
    can conspire
    to retire hate when one’s ire
    gets stuck in its mire.

  7. Story after the Fire

    last whiff of smoke
    a string of white
    twists upward
    into air
    crisp steps snap
    breaking remnants
    of undergrowth
    sometime after
    the ground cools
    a gust of wind
    scatters seeds
    from charred branches
    the wind sings
    a song of renewal
    as sprouts break ground
    and reach
    for a distant sun
    in skies so blue
    a new day
    in eyes of a child
    the ending stirs
    its own beginning
    as the land
    bears its age

  8. After Victor Hugo

    Before I was fully a man, 
    I was a fitful, remorseful lad,
    regretful, sad, Ill-pleased then,
    lamenting the life I’d had.
    Before I could become
    a newborn worker of light,
    I strode through valleys dark,
    my angry fire burning bright.
    There was no path, 
    yet miracles ensued,
    friends helped me find my own,
    my body and soul rescued.
    The raging fire now quenched,
    the rouged embers languish,
    long after midnight’s knell,
    yes I know this body healed,
    every fiber, every cell.

  9. SPARK

    when the vast night
    held no bright
    in some far
    distant star
    perhaps bizarre
    a silent, ‘Hark’
    came from the dark
    in a flash, a spark
    quietly igniting
    no longer hiding
    just a presence, nothing biting
    why it came or when
    what made it start or begin
    or even where had it been
    there was no answer
    nothing definitive or sure
    just created a stir
    it didn’t just spark light
    it did that, quite
    a most astounding sight
    giving us inspiration
    activating every nation
    all of us part of the fun
    it lit a fire
    bringing about desire
    engulfing us higher
    our inner flames could burn
    constantly activating every yearn
    defining an interest to learn
    we carry it to this day
    in our hearts, it will stay
    it sparks each word writers say
    we can choose to keep it alive
    let it soar, swoop or dive
    it’s our amazing muse and drive
    just hope it never dies
    because its in our core, where it lies
    it takes us everywhere it flies
    a spark for the endless ages
    a light meant to highlight stages
    a fire that destroys unnecessary cages
    we are that, too
    Its in me and you
    just keep it living, that will do!

    (c) Janet Rice Carnahan 2022

  10. Cabin Fireplace

    Years ago, in a cabin
    out on Montauk, Long Island,
    two couples spent a February
    weekend together. We had
    groceries, we had wine,
    and reveled in the old
    cabin smells of wood, ash,
    and age. Aside from each
    other’s company, we had
    a fireplace. One night
    we used a magical log.
    Flames flounced like
    ballet dancers. Autumn
    colors appeared on their
    tips–orange, mustard,
    scarlet, and forest green.
    Dancing lights on a
    frosty February night.
    Never forgotten.


    What is more resolute
    than the irreverence of flame?

    Its blithe indifference is cruelty—
    however inadvertent, or knows you by name.

    A lethal attraction, a toxic beauty; regards no
    remorse, knows no sympathy nor shame.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  12. This one just flowed out of me…

    Fire on the Mountain

    I heard them say nothing is worse
    Than a fire on the mountain….
    It rages for days
    Ripping down stately trees,
    And jumping hollows…

    I watched a fire burn
    Away the trees on ridge after ridge.
    It was a fearful fire but
    Nothing compared to the fire
    You have set in my soul.
    Lightning struck,
    And I was aflame…
    A fearful flame.

    Fear was there,
    Mostly because burns hurt,
    But I walked into that flame…
    And it is still burning.

    I am standing on a mountain…
    For I climbed its heights
    And feel the pains
    Of the journey….
    I see the valley below
    And know those that look
    Up to where I stand
    Do not see me,
    But they see that sunset
    That is me, and it is blazing
    Across the sky and
    The mountain
    Looks like it is on fire…

    Don’t worry,
    I may be on that mountain….
    But my sunset has not come…
    Always said I would go out
    In a blaze of glory.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    August 15, 2022

  13. Pingback: 16 Aug: Still Raging – It's Still Life


    There’s a mystery to a flame’s candescence
    and unerring destructive power.

    Its dalliance poses as guileless red wine flowers,
    still deadly—never irresolute in desire.

    Its subtle lure; a seamless, fatal attraction,
    having an infinite appetite for consumption.

    Until her sadistic beauty inflicts the ultimate
    reduction of her lover…to unsuspecting cinders.

    © Benjamin Thomas

  15. Baptized by Fire

    I didn’t know
    That when I became a warrior,
    That who I would be rescuing
    Was myself.

    I remember the night
    I prayed for the Holy Spirit
    To guide me, and
    I felt my skin grow warm,
    And I began to feel the spinning
    That took me higher
    And higher
    (Years later, I learned
    That others had felt that spinning
    When I prayed, but it was
    Never ever me that caused it.)
    I was
    Than I had ever been…
    When I stepped from my prayers
    My feet didn’t touch the ground.

    I thought it would burn out,
    But the embers still burn,
    Burning away the dross…
    The useless wasteful parts of me
    Burned away with those embers,
    And that which was gold within me
    Was molded and shaped
    Creating me a new creation…

    For a beautiful soul is eternal
    In the Lord, and blessed
    In ways unimagined…

    They say the first battle of a warrior
    Is called baptized in fire,
    And as I walked into that battle,
    I carried the Word given to me
    Into that battle, and
    My armor was forged in fire,
    And in my weakness
    I was invincible.

    I stand before you
    A warrior born
    On the night
    I prayed and gave my soul
    And all that I am to the Lord.
    I was broken then…
    I am who I am now
    Because of that one prayer…
    And all the prayers that came

    I am here to confess
    That I would not be who I am…
    If I had not been baptized in fire…
    This grateful soul
    Rejoices in those battles…
    For I am blessed.
    I am loved…

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    August 17, 2022


    It’s odd,
    but most bonfires
    seem to show some places
    smoldering with long-forgotten

  17. It’s the Ignition

    the sizzle the spark
    that spreads chars the edges
    print curling ash falling
    from the page
    and then
    the leaping its heady confirmation
    sentences and paragraphs
    whole chapters
    and those leathered covers
    branded hides wrestled
    to this ground with the agony
    of writers and readers
    shrouded in the ecstasy
    of censors hell bent on their warped limits
    books too many to list
    more every year thrown on
    these fires of self-righteousness

    but somewhere a flame flickers
    atop a candle in some attic room
    and another writer pens a tale
    exposes a truth a passion

    while on a smoky public square
    someone dares to sequester
    a banned tome beneath a jacket
    sends it as a packet across the seas
    even as someone else douses the flames
    combs through the ashes for
    a single word to take away
    a talisman against the past
    a pledge to ignite the future
    with what these fires cannot consume.

  18. My thoughts have been elsewhere…My nephew Daniel who is 46 is like a son to me and on Christmas Eve he told me that he had stage 4 cancer..of the sinuses… this morning I called him early to say my prayers went with him because he was going to have an MRI to see if the treatments had worked. I got a call and Daniel is cancer free. The joy I have felt all day has been amazing.

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