sometimes a fire

I fell in love with this phrase the first time I read it from Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. I underlined it a couple of times, copied it in my journal, hoping that one day I'll be able to use it in a poem or something.

The 'or something' came last Tuesday night. Like most of you, like the rest of the world, the results of the US elections had such an effect on me that I fould myself walking around as if lit from within, thinking of this phrase.

It's been so long since I felt this way. I had resigned myself to the idea that all the idealism and dreams of my youth are gone, buried so deeply that there was no way I'd ever see them again. I had come to accept the status quo, thinking that having a job that I enjoy, living in a city that I love, writing down a word after another is more than enough for me.

But it only took one night, one beautiful night, and I remembered those long-ago dreams again.

Sometimes a fire. Yes.


  1. You truly sum up the change many of us feel. I keep looking at the world with new eyes, thinking of ways I can give back, even reveling in how our new first family will soon be living in a White House that was built by slaves.

    BTW, I'm adding your blog to my "poets on the edge" category, *smile*

  2. I meant to say that I love Ondaatje's writing. I read a memoir he wrote, don't remember the title, about his life in Sri Lanka, at the time Ceylon.

  3. thanks christine! i'd be honored to be on your list. :)

    and yes, Ondaatje's writing is beautiful. haven't read the memoir, but i love English Patient and Divisadero.

  4. I acutally have always retained a lot of my youthful idealism in many ways and it has sometimes been very hard to carry it on, now there is as you say so much more hope. I like the quote from Ondaatje

  5. Even after 10 days, the new hasn't worn off. Reading your post did polish the shine, though. Wonderful.

    (More books to read. Ha.)

  6. juliet, i'm inspired by you. i think i had to give up my idealism the moment i started paying my student loans. haha. but yes, even if the fire is slowly ebbing now, i'm really happy that i felt it again. and very happy to know that it wasn't extinguised after all.

  7. deb, thanks! and oh, my books-to-read list is ever growing by the minute too.