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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, October 15, 2018.
About this Poem 

“While in the process of moving to the Hudson Valley area, my partner Kristen and I were nestled in front of the fireplace in the old house in Connecticut. As she slept, I meditated on the fire, her breathing, and a quatrain structure for writing about the heart, fire, and light. I thought of the heart as the governing power in the energetic body, while watching the rhythm of the fire and the patterning of light shifting in the windows. In the way of physics, I am always fascinated by the paradoxical nature of light as both wave and particle.”
—Afaa Michael Weaver

This Morning, This First Poem

It is the first day of the year again, this time
in the quiet absence of Portlandia, we have
our own quiet way of entering the spaces
between the seconds of life, where time fades.
The fire makes a noise, inside here where ice
and snow make the earth frozen, press us
to guess what weather will do now as weather
becomes a matter of climate with no divination.
I listen to your napping, air going inside
to fill you with warmth from the fireplace,
air going out to let your soul teach the world
what it is to make the journey to the heart.
So this first poem the day a golden retriever
wallowed in the sunrise over frozen snow,
then sat up to grin the silly grin of its kind,
as if to say, the light is there if you only wait.
We wait together for the first man to enter
this house we are leaving for another house,
as you say it is me, I am the man to bless
the heart, its mystery of fire and the light.

Copyright © 2018 by Afaa Michael Weaver. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Afaa Michael Weaver. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 15, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Afaa Michael Weaver

Afaa Michael Weaver

Born in 1951, Afaa Michael Weaver is the author of several collections of poetry, including Spirit Boxing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017).

by this poet


This wall is a great stairway, walls
are things that shoot up, keep out, line
the places where we mark the halls

that carry our names. The busts
of this one and that one, this history
is in the hard labor of hearts, thrusts

of piston and valve. I sit down
at the first house,



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                in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary

In general population, census
is consensus—ain't nowhere to run
to in these walls, walls like a mind—
We visitors stand in a yellow circle
so the tower can frisk us with light,
finger the barrels on thirsty rifles.

I got rambling, rambling on my mind