Passion Crucible
          (on Debbie Megginson’s painting “Fall Color Explosion”)

This is my memory, Love; this is my life
without you, caught between Milton and Dante,
yes and no . . . I recall now, as I fled
our life together, my imagination
lettered this omen above your lintel:
Abandon hope all who leave me. And I
left you, fields ablaze and bridges burning . . .

now I retreat, back against an angel
who bears a flaming sword, against this verge
of paradisal garden lavish in
rich violets and flora, while behind and
closing fast all around, this too-lovely
inferno invites me to burn in those
memories—to burn with those memories . . .

and God help me but I cannot deny
my passion, my crimson longing to suffer
for you, my Love, I would walk out there now,
into this explosion of autumn blaze,
among this tumult of blazing passions,
flames consuming heart and flesh alike, Love,
and dance on the prairies of the sun itself.

David M Pitchford