The fellowship of the flame

This thoughtful poem by American Kelly Chripczuk traces the theme of the fire of God’s presence running through the life of St John the Baptist.

He didn’t see it, but felt it
through the darkness of his mother’s womb,
the flame that baptized drawn close enough
to singe his foot,
which caused him to leap.
The wild fire caught
and grew, ruining him
for a life of conformity.
So he moved to the wilderness somewhere near the river’s edge where others were drawn
by the smoldering flame.
He doused them each with water, warning them one-by-one
of the fire to come.
Later, when he leapt
from this world to the next,
leaving his head behind,
he was greeted by the fellowship
of the flame – Isaiah
with his charred black lips,
Miriam who danced
like a flickering wick,
and the others, too many now to name together they glowed like
so many embers,
lighting the long, dark night.