He Lit a Fire With Icicles

Kay Ryan


He Lit a Fire With Icicles

Kay Ryan


Poem introduction

This poem is dedicated to the German writer W G Sebald- it's hard to say if he wrote novels or meditations or memoirs. They're extremely hypnotic to me, and I just love them. In any case, his patron saint is the saint refered to in this poem.

He Lit a Fire With Icicles

He Lit a Fire with Icicles

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.


‘He Lit a Fire with Icicles’, from The Niagara River (Grove Press, 2005), © Kay Ryan 2005, used by permission of the author and Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

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