Helen Blum ≈ gertrude stein + fire






Gertrude Stein sits in her parlour

in Paris, yes she does, yes she does,

surrounded by famous people.


She is a big woman, who likes you

if you don’t mention James Joyce.

You have to admire her,

or she won’t like you,

and if you disagree with her

she won’t like you.


She talks to the men,

the famous men.

The wives talk to Alice B. Toklas,

who is her lover, yes she is,

the one who prepares the meals.


Gertrude Stein is a big woman,

yes she is, yes she is.

She lives in Paris with her wife

and partner, Alice B Toklas.

She talks to the men and Alice

talks to the wives.


Gertrude Stein writes strings of

words that don’t make sense.

She calls them novels.


Gertrude Stein wears shapeless

clothes and sits in her parlour

in Paris with her pictures by



Yes she does.





I had no light or guide, but the

fire that burned inside my chest,

the fire that gave me no rest,

the fire that led me west,

the fire that changed my destiny.


While that fire burned I could

walk on hot coals and not feel a thing.

I could sing the secret songs of birds

and birds would come one by one, and

in swarms. Yes, the birds would come

in a great fluttering of feathers, and dance

in spirals around my head, around the flame

that was my head.


While that fire burned I had no words

only the song of birds, only the sound

of the sap that rises in spring trees,

only the roar of the fire that rose in me.


While that fire burned there was no light,

nor was there darkness, but the burning

in my chest would not let me rest.

I was deaf and blind and as alive

to kindness as a wildflower is to sun.


While that fire burned I could run to what

I loved and what loved me with no thought,

nor could I stop and even when I ran through water

the fire burned as if the water

was a wind that fanned it.


And when I came at last to the land

where the fire belonged,

 I could finally stand on the cool sand.

 I could finally stand.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: