The Last Friday

The Last Friday is a poetry editing group. Once a month, we post a poem and then offer feedback to the other poems on the Forum. We're a friendly but honest group. We value each other deeply and desire for every poet to be published or become famous.

    LAST FIRE (Ha! The forum says my title is too short!)


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    LAST FIRE (Ha! The forum says my title is too short!)

    Post  Karen on Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:46 pm

    Happy New Year, poets!  I hope January has been fertile for you.  I'm cramming seeds in the dirt as fast as I can find a crevice.  So to speak.

    I tried my hand at cinquains.  There seem to be a number of variant forms, but I went with the oldest: 5 lines of 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 syllables, iambic meter.


    Dry leaves,
    No longer brown,
    They crackle wicked fast,
    And eagerly ignite the limbs.
    Red hot.

    This fire
    In our backyard,
    Our private gate to hell,
    Is marked by skulls of sweet gum balls.
    Lost souls.

    We guard
    We rake the edges in.
    An evil tongue shoots from a knot.
    Hot licks.

    Sparks pop.
    Leaf penitents
    Float briefly free, aloft,
    Then blacken and disintegrate.
    Lost souls.

    That night,
    Inferno banked,
    We burrow into bed,
    The fire still hot beneath the ash.


    cinquain sequence?

    Post  dennis20 on Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:48 pm

    Karen,  The form is good. As you have written, it is the cinquain "sequence," however.  You have done a good job of weaving the story of the evening into this poem. Very good imagery here as well.  A thought or two from me.
    "we guard, we rake, we burrow, lost souls, lost souls," these may be over used.  Since these are short lines and pictures try to select different words when possible. If you were going to use the "lost souls" over again then I think it would have been a slam dunk ending. Good poem

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    Re: LAST FIRE (Ha! The forum says my title is too short!)

    Post  Karen on Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:00 am

    Well phooey, I can't type.  Or maybe I can't edit.  The fourth stanza was to have ended "Unsaved."  But now I'm fooling with the repetition of "Lost souls" you suggested.  Hmmm...  I hesitated to put us so firmly in the picture with the things "we" did.  I'm not sure I'm done with this poem.

    I'm thinking about it for a contest poem.  Any subject, cinquain, 25 line limit.


    Last Fire for title

    Post  dennis20 on Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:18 am

    Karen,  According to your title, "Last Fire" we see the end of the things, sweet gum balls and leaf penitents burn and become lost souls. Isn't the burn what is emphasized in the last strophe? Although you have "alive" for "we" in contrast to the sweet gum balls and the leaves, I just thought it would be a "slam the door in your face" ending to end it with that same power.


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    Fiery hot! Looks like you took care of your title just fine. : )

    Post  Pat on Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:01 am

    Karen, I like phrases:  wicked fast, skulls of sweet gum balls, evil tongue, sparks pop, hot licks, burrow into bed.  Yep, looks like a cinquain sequence, tied together nicely.  I paused on second stanza:  the word our, twice.  I know you are going for meter, but can you think on another word for one of them?  I love how you have gone beyond the backyard with this:  inferno and hell.  You took us deeper than a sweet warm fire.  Nice.  I can appreciate that.  It's more than a picture.  I am not disturbed by the repetition of Lost souls.  It has deep meaning.  Not so with our. Good job with senses.  Burned but alive.  Sounds like the hell I grew up hearing about.  Enjoyed the light cinquains for a HEAVY subject (lost or saved?  heaven or hell?).   Well done.

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    Good fun

    Post  tsukany on Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:25 pm


    I think the poem you want is one that describes two scenes and ends well.  

    However, I lobby the poem's energy is in the movement from a backyard fire to burning skulls to a fiery eternity.  

    I think this is accomplished by arranging the stanzas.  I think I'd end up cutting the last stanza altogether.

    Dewell H. Byrd

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    Last Fire (cont'd)

    Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Sat Jan 31, 2015 3:40 pm

    Title is fine with me... last fire, last rites.  I marvel at your bravery using this form...I gave up on it years ago.  In fact, while my high school English teacher was teaching poetry form I was studying girls! 
    Karen, is there a tense change in the last line?  Actually I have lost interest in the last stanza and suggest deleting it... or saving it for another poem.
    Sweet gum balls as skulls... love it.

    Title?  I like:  LAST FIRE, LAST RITES
    Good work, Karen.  Dewell

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    LAST FIRE (work in progress!)

    Post  Karen on Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:15 pm

    Thank you all for so much thought.  These are conversations I can't have elsewhere.  I like the image of my last stanza, but I realized I liked a picture I didn't even write about.

    Peeling off the final 5 lines strengthened the poem.  I can use that cull as starter ... like sourdough!

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    Re: LAST FIRE (Ha! The forum says my title is too short!)

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