The Wick and the Flame

“Ephemeral flame,” did cry the wick
“My head is rather hot”,
to which the flame did chortle back,
“A cold is what you’ve caught!”

“Oh no, dear flame that cannot be, for I feel a forming chip.
Surely, if there is no chill then reason rings I’ll drip!”

“Why ever do you think that’s so?” the flame did coyly whine
“If anything, your chip is but a mark of seasoned line.
The closer to the base, dear wick, the more pronounced you’ll be,
for one as bright, that hits such height, can touch the…filigree!
I say wise wick, you mustn’t fret, nor pay this chill much mind.
As I can tell, it means you well, when reason rings as blind.”

“I suppose you mean me kind in this, so I will sit and burn
and hopefully will shed my cold,” the wick did quick discern.

For hours the flame did warm the wick and time did find both well,
until through peeling parlor doors did seep an acrid swell.

“Something’s wrong!” a man did cry.
“For what’s to make of this?
I cannot think much good resides in such a horrid hiss.”

So sharp he sprang up from his post, to chase his cause for pause
and warn the rest who slept above the howling ember jaws.

In running past the blackened doors, the man did rightly see
a pool of molten paint that bled like wax from waning trees.

Yet as his yelp emerged to wake the guards who roamed the hall,
another’d sprung to bid what pales would stanch the scorched mahal.

“Oh how my fever’s raging!” wailed the wick unto the flame,
“For Munch looks like Kandinsky and del Caso’s out of frame!”

“No, no dear wick, tis but a dream spun from a mind ablaze!
I’m sure you’re rightly speaking through a most distressing daze.
Go back to sleep!”
“But I’m awake!”, the wick did quick reply.
As fumed the flame, through blazing claim, “It is of cold you cry!”

Soon powdered pales with icy blasts did enter through the door
and flooded out the rubble that had caked upon the floor.

“Alas!”, the flame did yelp aloud
“If blasts consume your head,
the cold of which you crudely cry can only hope to spread.”

But as the flame’s voice puttered out, he muttered
“Now you’ll slow,”
To which the wick, in fashion quick
Did utter, “Now, I know.”

-Amy Struthers

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