This Poem was Submitted By: Rick Barnes On Date: 2004-05-14 12:44:00 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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Ashes. Nothing holds ashes together, and yet, there they lay. Ashes. Grey ghost dust. Not even color survives. Such a fire. Quite a light, the way it kept company with the night and left but dark embracing me. And the warmth. One needs to stand in the absence of warmth to grasp degree. So it must be most of all, the spark. That is what is really gone. Everything else is afterglow. Fire is fire alone. Light and warmth leave nothing behind that was not there when they arrived, no more cold, no less dark. Ashes. Ashes are what we find when the spark has gone.

Copyright © May 2004 Rick Barnes

This Poem was Critiqued By: Erzahl Leo M. Espino On Date: 2004-06-07 22:46:27
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Hi Rick, Your words are “immortal”! An everlasting beauty even behind those “ashes”. On how you define and expand the internal and external meaning of “ashes” is just outstanding! Again, you color the this dull and grey thing with words of spectrum and colors. You put shades of your persona, of your poetic genius (for me, you are the romantic writer, romancing almost any subject), your belief…your in-depth mind. “So it must be most of all, the spark. That is what is really gone. Everything else is afterglow.” --- So original! Unforgettable! You speak with so much authority! You know your poems…and sense how proud you are with it! “Ashes. Ashes are what we find when the spark has gone.” --- Great ending! For me this is number one! Well-posited, lyrically done, excellent choice of words! You have perfected your craft! As always, Erzahl :)

This Poem was Critiqued By: Lennard J. McIntosh On Date: 2004-06-04 20:25:59
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.61905
Re: "Ashes" Writer: "Nothing holds ashes together, and yet, there they lay." LJMC: Here is a philosophic statement to prime the poetic muse. This is good diction. Indeed,"there they lay." Writer: "One needs to stand in the absence of warmth to grasp degree." LJMC: How very fitting is this statement. Ones does need be beyond the intensity of involvement to truly encompass the significance of a situation.. It allows for clear thought. Writer: "Ashes. Ashes are what we find when the spark has gone" LJMC: Within this last, short stanza the writer alludes to the "spark of love," as the clue to the theme of this finely written work. For we know that without a spark, where is there hope for a fire. Good work,and well-crafted, poetry. Congratulations. A fellow poet, Lennard McIntosh
This Poem was Critiqued By: Regis L Chapman On Date: 2004-06-03 18:30:05
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.70000
Again I have a reason to think of poems running together one after the other on a similar topic. The last poem I critiqued was also about a death theme. This is one which keep the reader apart from the actual aspect of death- realting to it more like and treats the very real physicality described like a concept piece, quite abstract in it's description. Maybe that was the author's intent- to describe the events unfolding in a cold way to emphasize the conclusion. Great work. Still there is a mention of a first person once to let you know the author is relating a subject somehow close to him, but maybe afraid of? Thanks, REEG!
This Poem was Critiqued By: Wayne R. Leach On Date: 2004-05-30 16:20:24
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.37500
Rick, an interesting read, assuming the metaphor re love, emotion - or even, if literally fire and ashes. The imagery and feeling contained herein leave me warm - then... cold, so very cold. If one can feel that from mere words, then the words are as they should be. Very good poem. A lot of puctuation, but here, that is okay. It only adds to the chill -"when the spark has gone". Write on in peace, and I hope happiness. wrl
This Poem was Critiqued By: Thomas Edward Wright On Date: 2004-05-22 10:43:55
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.32258
I am working on a responsorial hymn. Watch for it in a theatre near me. t.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Rachel F. Spinoza On Date: 2004-05-18 13:27:44
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.72727
Or, as Mae West replied when asked about her perfume, "You like it? I call it "Ashes of Men." But I digress. This is a wonderfully imaginative piece Rick. Ashes[-.] Nothing holds ashes together, and yet, there they [lie]. Ashes[-.] Grey ghost dust.[wonderful allusion!} Not even color survives[-.] Such a fire. We see in the above line that there is another, deeper meaning here] Quite a light, the way it kept company with the night and left but dark embracing me And the warmth. One needs to stand in the absence of warmth to grasp degree. [perhaps - to grasp the cold?}] So it must be most of all, the spark. That is what is really gone. Everything else is afterglow.[love it] Fire is [only fire] Light and warmth leave nothing behind that was not there when they arrived,[nice near-rhyme] no more cold, no less dark. Ashes Ashes are what we find when the spark has gone. It all comes together at the end. Really nice work, Rick
This Poem was Critiqued By: Debbie Spicer On Date: 2004-05-17 13:17:26
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 1.00000
Dear Rick, Hi stranger! What a deep, complex yet authentic subject. I don’t believe I have ever given thought to ashes, even though I have spread many in the ocean, and cleaned many from a fire. This poem possibly could have been about a one-time love. (I am taking some guesses here) that was such an important aspect in your life. The somber need for embracing came only after the light and warmth left you alone. Being isolated is debilitating in of itself. It is the residue that remains after loss. No color and no warmth are anguish of its own. Difficult to arrive to this time of night only knowing it will be colorless. (Why do I always go with the factors of love and loss or love and completeness? Guess it is just my way! ) In the next stanza you mention “the spark”. This might encompass so many aspects of life. The relationship could be in progress, but the sparkle of that excitement of new love could have vanished. The gratification are the memories of once was. Without fire, the color is gone. Without fire, the warmth is gone. Without light, we stumble to wonder how we can go on. The intimate passion we once beheld is now without intensity, brilliance, and sharpness. The ashes will remain, the memories will not evanesce, but the wondrous circumstances of all of this is that is occurred. The experiences happened and even though colorless ashes remain, memories will persevere. Now, as you know, this could be only one interpretation of you’re deep, awesome poem, but it is mine and even if wrong, the poem is full of metaphoric meanings and I loved it, (as usual for I admire your poetry immensely.) Thank you for sharing you deep and praiseworthy heart. My very best, Debbie
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2004-05-15 02:28:36
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.66667
Hi Rick, What a freshly amazing idea you have here! What are you thinking that you came up with these profoung ideas? Just wondering..Talking about ashes is like talking about lives. Our lives end up to ashes. And ashes is a significant symbol in Roman Catholic. That's we have Ash Wednesday. "Ashes. Nothing holds ashes together, and yet, there they lay." Very striking idea! I just realized it this time! And now the fire! The relation of ashes and the fire is interesting. You made it interesting for us! And here comes the spark, lighter than the fire! And the glow gives warmth and less dark! Ashes. Ashes are what we find when the spark has gone. Very effective ending! Kudos to your work! Thanks for sharing this with us, Rick! Jordan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2004-05-14 18:56:28
Critiquer Rating During Critique: Unknown
Rick: It still amazes me, after all this time, how your poetry can launch me into new experience, as if reading your words is more than reading your words! I felt the coldness of the absence of light and warmth, sensed the halting breaths with which each line is 'spoken' as if in slow realization of 'what is' and 'what is not' and the significance of absence. But the *feeling* of the poem is as if a terrible blow has been struck, and the speaker is bereft, perhaps with the loss of a relationship. That's the second layer, because, on first reading, my mind did a few quantum leaps and I listened for the 'music of the spheres' which I always hear in your work. You have the unique ability to combine what seems like 'personal' experience with a more universal awareness -- more philosophical insights per pixel (smile) than I can absorb or digest. If this were a musical concert, I'd want to have prepared myself somewhat by reading about the composer, or listening to recordings of the music to be played, and at least be in a receptive frame of mind. I am calm, seated, relaxed and eager for the first notes. When I hear *this* music begin to play, I realize that I am going to hear more about myself and my own experience of 'music' and self than I expected, distracting me some from the melody placed there by the composer (poet). It is uncanny, once more. And yet, as Mell wrote, every poem's an autograph, and surely this must be more about "Rick" than it is about me! It confounds me how your work always feels as if it is an experience happening within my consciousness, rather than something which comes from outside of myself. I think I have wandered far enough off the trail and am not making sense. (smile) But of course, this is the effect your poetry has - it combines sounds/experiences/awareness in new ways, so that I am always a bit shaken up. This is what I mean when I say that your poetry "moves" me -- because I am lifted and deposited in new territory every time I read something of yours. One needs to stand in the absence of warmth to grasp degree. These lines are the most poignant of all for me. This sets up a yearning in me for that reconciliation with the One, the Other, which is unending. Is warmth truly absent if we can pine for it, if we 'remember' it enough to miss it? If we "grasp degree" then we must still be connected to warmth somehow, lest the memory slip away and our entire experience becomes one of coldness. So it must be most of all, the spark. That is what is really gone. Everything else is afterglow. Do we live in the dim remembrance of the spark, or, as Mary Oliver says, "I remember how everything will be everything else, by and by." Or are we pulled into what we may call the 'future' by our remembrance, when we realize that the afterglow is truly empty of substance? Fire is fire alone. Light and warmth leave nothing behind that was not there when they arrived, no more cold, no less dark. If "fire is fire alone" then what is it - what are we - when we realize that the "spark has gone?" Ashes. Ashes are what we find when the spark has gone. I won't solve this today. I will stir the ashes, looking for what was lost, sitting in the middle of it, in the middle of it, and gradually turn to see that though the ashes have grown cold, I have the spark (of light) within me. Only then (in a few millennium) will I stop making more out of the ashes than is there. Ohhhh - I think I sprained something (but this is 'good pain') trying to reach where this poem seems to want to take me. I can sense your smile and patience with a reader who writes and writes and still can't define what it is about this poem that makes me glad to have lived long enough to have read it just now. Pondering anew, Joanne n
This Poem was Critiqued By: Mell W. Morris On Date: 2004-05-14 15:06:00
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Rick: I have been sitting here staring at the screen so long but I will overcome my trembles and comment. I refuse to be rendered wordless but I cannot say what I have encountered in your poem. Such spare writing that whelms me to cliches. The hands of a master. Beauty is forever. I tried to follow to the depths your poem was taking me and got "the bends." I cannot explain the terror of my atavistic response to "Ashes". Metaphoric? Understated? Ashes to ashes?" Nothing holds ashes together. ...Not even color survives." Then the near-whimsy of "Such a fire." The philosophical: "One needs to stand in the absence of warmth to grasp degree." Your rhymes set in just the right places. And always the insinuation of sensuality: "Everything else is afterglow." The philosophical: "Light and warmth leave nothing behind that was not there when they arrived, no more cold, no less dark." The epiphany: "Ashes are what we find when the spark has gone." A metaphor for an ending relationship? For me, this is so much more and touches such primitive places in my self, I cannot speak it. Your best by far. Thank you. Your friend, Mell
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