He Lit a Fire with Icicles

By Kay Ryan b. 1945 Kay Ryan

For W.G. Sebald, 1944-2001

This was the work
of St. Sebolt, one
of his miracles:
he lit a fire with
icicles. He struck
them like a steel
to flint, did St.
Sebolt. It
makes sense
only at a certain
body heat. How
cold he had
to get to learn
that ice would
burn. How cold
he had to stay.
When he could
feel his feet
he had to
back away.

Kay Ryan, “He Lit a Fire with Icicles” from The Niagara River.  Copyright © 2005 by Kay Ryan.  Reprinted with the permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.  All rights reserved. Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

Source: Poetry (February 2005).

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2005
 Kay  Ryan

Biography

Born in California in 1945 and acknowledged as one of the most original voices in the contemporary landscape, Kay Ryan is the author of several books of poetry, including Flamingo Watching (2006), The Niagara River (2005), and Say Uncle (2000). Her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (2010) won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Ryan's tightly compressed, rhythmically dense poetry is often compared to that of Emily . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Religion, Christianity, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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