“The Mantle” by Chard deNiord

Chard deNiord


catches the small blue flame that lights 
the room, then glows on high in the hiss of gas. 
A sheath of silk, it rounds the flame 
behind the lantern’s glass.
It’s nothing and something when the flame expires
like the gown of a ghost that’s gone inside.
It’s a body that burns to a single ash
but still ignites like an oil-soaked rag
at the touch of a flame.

from Rattle #69, Fall 2020


Chard deNiord: “I live on ten wild acres in Westminster West, Vermont, where my wife and I have planted two gardens. She paints and I write when we’re not gardening. I write because I have always had to since I was about fifteen. My two poems in this issue came to me one day while I was pulling weeds. For reasons that are just as mysterious as my need to write and date back to my days as a divinity student, I’ve always been intrigued by the paradox of fecklessness as an essential source for inspiration, as well as an antidote for boring perfection. With regard to the ‘flame’ in ‘The Mantle,’ I’m equally intrigued by the mystery of fire that feeds invisibly off the frailest material. I view it as a metaphor for writing poetry itself.”(web)

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